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Venomous Jellyfish Bloom Alarms Researchers Along Visakhapatnam Coast

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An unexpected bloom of venomous jellyfish has stirred concern among marine researchers along the coast of Visakhapatnam. This phenomenon involving the Pelagia noctiluca, commonly known as the mauve stinger or purple-striped jellyfish, poses a threat to public health. The species, notorious for its painful sting and potential life-threatening effects, was spotted in large numbers across popular spots like RK Beach and Rushikonda.

The sighting of numerous purple-hued, translucent jellyfish, each with a bell diameter ranging from three to five centimeters, has raised alarms among marine biologists. Sri Chakra Pranav, Deepu Visweswar, and Aditya Madhav from the East Coast Conservation Team stumbled upon these venomous creatures during a routine intertidal data collection exercise.

Pelagia noctiluca is a globally distributed species typically found in tropical and warm-temperature seas. What sets it apart is its unique bioluminescent quality, allowing it to emit light in dark conditions. Unlike conventional jellyfish, this species boasts stingers not just on its tentacles but also on its bell, increasing its potency as a dangerous marine organism.

The emergence of this jellyfish bloom has prompted calls for immediate action from marine experts. Given the potential risks associated with Pelagia noctiluca, efforts are being made to inform the Visakhapatnam district administration so they can take appropriate measures. It is crucial to issue advisories urging the public to refrain from entering the waters until the species has been cleared from the coastal areas.

Jellyfish blooms, characterized by a rapid increase in population, are often linked to environmental factors such as rising ocean temperatures. The prevalence of these blooms underscores the need for heightened awareness and proactive measures to safeguard human health and marine ecosystems. Past instances of Pelagia noctiluca blooms in destinations like Phuket, Thailand, and incidents in Ireland serve as stark reminders of the potential impacts of such occurrences.

Rachel Adams

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