In light of the recent reports of Barrel Jellyfish which have been spotted in and around Weymouth and Portland, even from the top of the Weymouth Tower; Weymouth Sea Life is launching ‘Jellyfish Awareness Day’ on Friday 23May during Turtle Fest to educate guests about these magnificent creatures.
With so many jellyfish being washed towards the south coast, it could attract new visitors to the area including certain types of sea turtles such as leatherhead and loggerhead turtles.
Jellyfish Awareness Day will have information about the jellyfish located around the Park, with a banner stand by the Moon Jellyfish kreisel tank in the Shipwreck Pod and fact stickers on the ‘behind the scenes’ windows on the walk down towards the Turtle Sanctuary going up from next week.
The Jellyfish in Shipwreck will also be the ‘Sea Life Superstar of the Week’ and be featured on the attraction’s social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Members of the Entertainments Team will be able to answer questions about Jellyfish during their scheduled talks throughout the day.
Sea Life love jellyfish and has launched a breeding programme to find out more about these complicated and mysterious creatures. 2014 has been a great start for jellyfish breeding in the Displays Development Department based at Weymouth Sea Life, with two new species being bred over the last few months.
The Compass Jellyfish, native to UK waters and the White-Spotted jellyfish, tropical species have been bred by the Breeding Team at DDD Weymouth. Jellyfish have a complex life cycle alternating between a stage where they are attached to rock and are called polyps and a free swimming phase.
The conditions required to induce polyps to produce baby jellyfish are very specific for each species and it can be very challenging just to get to this stage.
The jellyfish are fed on zooplankton (microscopic marine animals) and the colder native species can take two months to reach 1cm in diameter! Breeding these species requires a lot of hard work and diligence. Guests to the Park will be able to see through the windows on the walk down to the Turtle Sanctuary and view the mighty Jellies.
Jellyfish have been around for millions of years and are a consistent food source for many such as turtles, dolphins, sharks and swordfish. As a result, these creatures can often get confused by plastic bags and eat them leading to a painful and unnecessary death.
All species of jellyfish sting as this is one of their natural defences. Stings vary depending on the type of species ranging from mild irritation to severe reactions. If you are stung by a jellyfish try to remember what the jellyfish looked like so you can find out what species it was.
Following advice from the NHS: Any remaining tentacles should be removed using tweezers or a clean stick (wear gloves if they’re available). Applying an ice pack to the affected area will help reduce pain and inflammation.
Vinegar is no longer recommended for treating jellyfish stings because it may make things worse by activating unfired stinging cells. The use of other substances, such as alcohol and baking soda, should also be avoided.
Ignore any advice you may have heard about urinating on the sting. It’s unlikely to help and may make the situation worse.
Applying shaving cream to the affected area will help prevent the spread of toxins. Use a razor blade, credit card or shell to remove any nematocysts (small poisonous sacs) that are stuck to the skin.
If you find a jellyfish washed up, avoid touching it and alert the Marine Conservation Society so they can log which jellyfish have been spotted in the area.