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A Jellyfish from 'down under' off Shikmona
- the Australian spotted jellyfish Phyllorhiza punctata

Dr. Bella Galil, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research

A large strange jellyfish was observed in a rock pool near Shikmona vermetid reef. It turned out to be an old acquaintance - the Australian spotted jellyfish Phyllorhiza punctata - the previous record from the Israeli coast dates to 1965.

photo: Sima Usvyatsov
Phyllorhiza puncata jellyfish

Alien jellyfish gained notoriety off the Israeli coast since the mass swarms of the nomadic jellyfish, Rhopilema nomadica, appeared in the early 1980s. The Australian spotted jellyfish is an invasive species that was likely introduced into the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean through the Panama Canal half a century ago in ship fouling. In 2000 the species formed a massive bloom in the Gulf of Mexico that disrupted fisheries by clogging of netting, causing millions of dollars in economic losses. Shipping is widely believed to be the primary vector for marine bioinvasions, and the wide dispersal of the species may be attributable to the transport of their sessile polyp (scyphistoma). The extensive shipping traffic between the Gulf ports and Israel increases the potential that the jellyfish populations there are the source of our specimen, rather than the more distant populations in Australia.

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