The 'fried egg' jellyfish
The first individual of the 'fried egg' jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) was spotted over the last few days at Zurrieq and reported by Mark Anthony Falzon as part of the Spot the Jellyfish campaign.
The campaign said today that the individual in question was a small one, with the bell measuring just 45mm in diameter.
The species is also known in Maltese as ‘tal-lampuki” (in clear reference to the dolphin fish, which is caught at this time of year) as well by the descriptive monicker of “qassata”.
Despite its size, the fried egg jellyfish is innocuous and its occurrence is short-lived, normally extending till the start of October at most. The species, with its purple, bulbous tentacles and a dark yellow bell which can reach a diameter of 30cm, is popular with divers and snorkelers and should not be persecuted, especially since it is a non-stinging species, the campaign added.
Yet another gelatinous species showing perfect timing in its annual appearance is Velella velella (By-the-wind sailot), which occurs almost exclusively in springtime, normally over the April-June period.
A total of 14 gelatinous plankton species have been recorded so far as part of the Spot the Jellyfish initiative.
The Spot the Jellyfish initiative is coordinated by Dr Alan Deidun, Prof. Aldo Drago and staff of IOI-MOC, and enjoys the support of the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) and of Nature Trust, Friends of the Earth, EkoSkola, Sharklab and the Blue Flag Malta programme.