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‘Flame jellyfish’ seen on Phuket’s east coast beach

Flame jellyfish

Flame jellyfish have been spotted on the eastern coast of Phuket near Chalong, with approximately ten of these Pelagia species found on a beach in Wichit. The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources was alerted by a hotel operator last week, leading them to inspect the beach during high tide.

Beachgoers are now being cautioned to exercise caution in the area. If stung by a flame jellyfish, swimmers are advised to use seawater or vinegar, if available, to wash the affected skin.

“It is crucial not to use drinking water or alcohol to prevent allergic reactions.”

After applying vinegar or seawater, individuals should cover the affected area with hot water for 20 minutes to alleviate pain and seek medical attention promptly.

“A fairly small and variably coloured species, both its tentacles and (unusual among jellyfish) bell are covered in stinging cells. Stinging incidents are common, painful and the symptoms may continue for a considerable time after the encounter, but they are generally not dangerous” – Wikipedia

Pelagia noctiluca, the flame jellyfish, is a relatively small species found in tropical and warm temperate seas globally. Adults typically have a bell diameter of 3 – 12 centimetres, displaying colours ranging from mauve and purple to pink and yellow. These bioluminescent jellyfish emit a low light visible in the dark.

The sting of Pelagia noctiluca can come from both its tentacles and bell. Even when dead, stranded individuals can still cause a nasty sting. While the pain from a sting usually lasts 1-2 weeks, there have been no reported fatalities.

Following this discovery on Phuket’s eastern coast, the DMCR is reiterating safety warnings for beachgoers regarding potential jellyfish stings. This advice, combined with previous recommendations from Phuket lifeguards, emphasises the importance of keeping an eye out when swimming along Phuket’s coastline.

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