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One of the jellyfish spotted near Rincón de la Victoria. Christian Jongeneel
Local swimmer's spectacular snaps of a giant jellyfish off the coast of the Costa del Sol

Local swimmer's spectacular snaps of a giant jellyfish off the coast of the Costa del Sol

The Rhizostoma Luteum, that was rare in Spain until a few years ago, can weigh up to 40 kilos but despite its size has much less of a sting than smaller species

Friday, 14 July 2023, 20:30

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"Every year, a few nice specimens appear in the sea at the start of summer. So this week when I went swimming I took my camera with me to see if I could get a photo". This is how the Malaga swimmer Christian Jongeneel, promoter of Brazadas Solidarias, described his close encounter this week with a Rhizostoma Luteum, a species of cnidaria - which includes jellyfish, and anemones... - of large dimensions. These giant jellyfish appear from time to time along the coast of the Costa del Sol and they usually cause a disproportionate amount of alarm, as they are not really dangerous animals.

Jongeneel took this amazing photo this week, during one of his long swimming sessions along the coast of Rincón de la Victoria, near the mouth of the river Granadilla. The Rhizostoma Luteum jellyfish are a real spectacle of nature: they are pale blue or white, can weigh up to 40 kilos and measure between two and three metres long, including their characteristic black tentacles.

The characteristic tentacles of this species of jellyfish.
The characteristic tentacles of this species of jellyfish. Christian Jongeneel

Interestingly, there were hardly any records of this species on the Spanish coast a few years ago. Christian Jongeneel was one of the first swimmers who informed scientists in 2012 that he was seeing this species, discovered in 1827, off the coast of Malaga. In recent years the sightings of these jellyfish have increased.

Low risk

Despite their impressive size, these jellyfish feed on plankton and are less dangerous to swimmers than smaller ones. Their tentacles are less stinging, although they can cause irritation. What to do if you come across one of these specimens? Well, what experts always recommend: do not touch them, much less hunt them or take them out of the water. Simply avoid contact and enjoy its spectacular appearance.

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