Invasive jellyfish washes up on Padre Island National Seashore

Corpus Christi, Texas – Padre Island National Seashore says it recently welcomed “some unwelcome visitors.”

The invasive Australian spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) was discovered on North Beach, PINS said in a Facebook post.

Brown and white-spotted jellyfish are generally harmless to humans, but are considered a threat to local wildlife.

“Unfortunately, these jellies have invaded the Gulf of Mexico and can consume large amounts of zooplankton, making it difficult for local marine wildlife to find food,” PINS said in a post. Stated.

Australian spotted jellyfish can reach a diameter of 20 inches and travel in large groups.

Pins said their venom is mild and does not affect humans or sting prey. Instead, they are “filter feeders” that feed on zooplankton and larval fish.

Jellyfish compete with fish and shrimp for food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Invasive Species Research Institute.

Because of their size, they can get stuck in nets and have a negative impact on shrimp fishing and fisheries.

“The Gulf Coast has seen huge swarms of these invaders form in recent years. Each jellyfish can purify 50 cubic meters of plankton-filled water in a day, and dense populations of Australian spotted jellyfish can be found in the water column. are dangerous because they have the potential to alter the food web of animals,” the Texas Invasive Species Research Institute says.

The species was first discovered in the United States in California in 1981, and in Galveston, Texas, in 2006, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

It is native to Australia, the Philippines, and other parts of the Western Pacific.

“The polyp stage of this species, which germinates and develops into young jellyfish, can be transported to our region on ship hulls. This jellyfish is found from California waters to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. and pose a threat to Texas’ coastal ecosystems,” the Texas Invasive Species Research Institute said.

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