Mauve Stinger Jellyfish

Mauve Stinger

  • Scientific name: Pelagia noctiluca
  • Also known as: Purple Striped Stinger
  • Size: Seldom exceeds 12-15cm in diameter
  • Distribution: Found in warmer waters in Europe (particularly the Mediterranean) and elsewhere around the equator.

A rare visitor to the UK, the mauve stinger jellyfish is generally found in deeper waters in the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason when it is found around the UK and Ireland it is most likely to turn up on the western coasts. The mauve stinger, however, does seem to be becoming more common in British and Irish waters, possible as a result of global warming. As the name implies the colour is usually mauve, pinkish or purple and bioluminescent light can be produced by this species. They feed on small mid-water creatures such as crustaceans as well as plankton. The mauve stinger contains powerful stinging cells on its tentacles and can be a considerable problems for bathers in areas such as the Mediterranean.

2007 Fish Farm Attack

In 2007 a huge amount of mauve stinger jellyfish caused the destruction of the entire fish stock of an open-sea fish farm in Northern Ireland. A huge swarm of mauve stingers – which may have been as big as ten square miles in area, 30-40 feet deep and containing billions of individual jellyfish – overwhelmed the farm. Staff attempted to rescue the fish but could not get their boats through the mass of jellyfish. Eventually the fish farm’s entire stock of 100,000 salmon had been killed by either the stinging tentacles of the jellyfish or by becoming deprived of oxygen in the jellyfish-inundated waters. In other areas such as the Mediterranean rocketing numbers of mauve stingers have caused problems with areas which rely on tourism, as huge volumes of jellyfish close to the shore prevent people from going into the water.

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