Rise in sightings of crystal jellyfish
A large number of reports of sightings of the crystal or multi-ribbed jellyfish have been received by the Spot the Jellyfish team.
The crystal jellyfish is a non-stinging species and rather uncommon in Maltese waters.
Campaign coordinator Alan Deidun considered the sighting anomalous, as the species as considered to be rather uncommon in Maltese waters, having been recorded for the first time by the Spot the Jellyfish team in 2010 through a single specimen caught off Dahlet Qorrot in Gozo.
The species are known to be found in the Atlantic and European seas as well as in sub-tropical regions in the Pacific Ocean. They and are renowned for their tendency to bioluminesce.
n the Mediterranean, they are mainly found in the western regions, such as the Spanish coasts.
In addition to the crystal jellyfish sightings, the University's IOI-MOC, where the campaign is based, received numerous reports of aggregations of mature mauve stingers and isolated sightings of salps and comb jellies.
The Spot the Jellyfish initiative is coordinated by Dr Deidun together with Prof. Aldo Drago and staff of IOI-MOC. It enjoys the support of the Malta Tourism Authority, Nature Trust, Friends of the Earth, EkoSkola, the BlueFlag Malta programme and Sharklab.
he campaign is an IOI-Kids Programme initiative, which follows a citizen science approach and relies on the collaboration of the general public, mariners, divers, and the younger generations through their teachers and parents, by recruiting their assistance in recording the presence and location of jellyfish through the use of a dedicated colourful reporting leaflet.
The leaflet can be directly downloaded from www.ioikids.net/jellyfish .
The reporting is done by matching the sighted jellyfish with visual identification, giving the date and time of the sighting, and indicating the number of jellies seen.
Sightings can be also reported online or submitted through an SMS on 7922 2278, or email at [email protected].
Strange jellyfish not included on the leaflet should be caught and kept in a bucketful of seawater prior to contacting IOI-MOC staff for retrieval to attempt a definite identification of the species.
If this is not possible, photos should be taken.
The Spot the Jellyfish campaign, launched in May 2010, has received international recognition for its citizen science value.