What to do if you spot a jellyfish swarm in UAE waters
Seven types of jellyfish can be found in Abu Dhabi waters…
Those heading to the beach to enjoy the warming UAE waters, are advised to keep their eyes out for jellyfish smacks (that’s the favoured collective noun and we’re as disappointed as you about it). It’s not a new phenomenon, infact the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has issued warnings about migrating medusozoa in the past.
Although jellyfish populations along the coast hit their peak over the summer when the water is warmest, right now is the time of year when we find beach visits from members of the public topping out. Making it the juncture when the two groups will most likely overlap.
There are seven different types of these floating-plastic-bag-looking-bois that can be found in Abu Dhabi waters, including ‘moon’ and ‘blue blubber’ jellyfish. And they really are fascinating creatures, completely spineless (that’s a taxonomical classification not a defamatory attack on their ability to send food back in a restaurant) and possessed of a complex range of toxins, that can result in stings for humans.
How to get ready for these jellies
Fortunately, the stings dished out by the species found in UAE waters are very tame, usually only resulting in itchy rashes and mild burning sensations. If you do get stung — What’s On advises that you avoid the Monica/Chandler method for ‘relief’ and instead visit a doctor. If you’re in significant pain, or suffering from an allergic reaction to the sting, head straight to the hospital.
The stings can come from ‘the bell’ (the ‘head’) or tentacles — depending on the variety. So the safest policy is to stay vigilant and give them a wide berth.
We should be thankful our jelly range is limited to these types though, there are some pretty terrifying marine invertebrates out there (Australia, we’re looking at you). The box jellyfish for example, found in Australia (obviously) is a name applied to a group of species, some of which are ‘the most poisonous creatures on earth’.
One member of the box jellyfish family, Irukandji is only one centimetre long and following envenomation, human victims can experience a list of symptoms that includes “psychological phenomena such as the feeling of impending doom”. Niche.
But let us restate, this jellyfish is absolutely not found in UAE waters. We wish you all the best with that Australia.