Mauve Stinger Jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca, by Andrew Reay-Robinson
Mauve Stinger Jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca, by Andrew Reay-Robinson

The Mauve Stinger, or Luminescent Jellyfish, is a beautiful jellyfish. Often coloured purple, you can find it around the world in warm and temperate waters from around 12 to 30 m.

This jellyfish is the most venomous in the Mediterranean. However, its sting is usually limited to the skin surface with local pain which lasts for one to two weeks. In some cases the sting can leave scars, or pigmentation of the skin lasting for several years. Should you be stung by a jellyfish, rinse the area with vinegar for 30 minutes. If vinegar is not available use sea water: don’t use fresh water. Remove any tentacles left on the skin.

As the name suggests, the luminescent jellyfish gives off light. When water is disturbed by waves, or a ship, the jellyfish flashes attractively for a short while.

The jellyfish can move vertically, but are unable to propel themselves horizontally and so are carried by currents. They move up and down in response to migrations of their prey, zooplankton.

Intestingly, a group of jellyfish have their own collective noun, in fact they have two: a “smack” or a “fluther” of jellyfish.

Further Reading:

Mariottini, G.L.; Giacco, E.; Pane, L. The Mauve Stinger Pelagia noctiluca (Forsskål, 1775). Distribution, Ecology, Toxicity and Epidemiology of Stings.. Mar. Drugs 2008, 6, 496-513.

Jellyfish blooms move food energy from fish to bacteria