Researchers discover alien jellyfish off Moroccan coast

Moroccan researchers have discovered the first non-native jellyfish off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The transparent bulbous creatures with white polka dots actually live in the waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Phyllorhiza punctata, or Australian jellyfish, is one of the many exotic marine species that have arrived in the Mediterranean, living thousands of nautical miles from their natural habitat.

Recent research conducted by a group of Moroccan and international scientists has revealed that many of the plants and animals that live in the seas around Morocco did not originally come from there.

Australian spotted jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, observed on the coast of Nador, August 3, 2017 / Ph. Morocco's national list of marine invasive species is being updatedAustralian spotted jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, observed on the coast of Nador, August 3, 2017 / Ph. Update of Morocco’s national list of marine invasive species

Scientists have discovered 46 creatures and 15 more that may have come from other places. Most of these alien species (35), which scientists call “alien species,” live in the Mediterranean Sea, and fewer (16) live in the Atlantic Ocean.

The most common visitor types were seaweed-like plants (19), followed by shellfish (8), crustaceans (7), jellyfish-like organisms (5), and fish (3). Hoya (2 items). So far, there is only one worm and one segmented worm.

hitchhike on a boat

The Australian jellyfish is one such species that permanently resides in the Mediterranean Sea, and is probably a stowaway. In other words, the jellyfish likely boarded a ship bound for the Mediterranean.

“In the Mediterranean, the most common route is transport and smuggling, with 23 invasive species likely being introduced via two vectors: ship dirt and ballast water,” the study said. .

Hull fouling is the attachment of marine organisms such as barnacles and mussels to the bottom of a ship. As the ship advances, these creatures take off into new oceans and become unwelcome visitors.

Ballast water is the water that large cargo ships take in to maintain stability. Small sea creatures are sucked in with the water and can end up in a whole new ocean when the aquarium is emptied.

According to scientists, the Mediterranean is home to more “permanent residents” from other regions (77%) than the Atlantic (69%).

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