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All information on thejellyfish portuguese caravel. Sightings inItaly, in Sicily and diffusion in our waters. Dimensions and information on the animal.
Portuguese caravel: Physalia physalis
Due to its appearance, thePortuguese caravel is often called - erroneously-jellyfish.
In fact, thePortuguese caravel is not a jellyfishbut a siphonophore, that is, an aggregation of four different animal organisms (polyps) called zooids. These organisms are physiologically linked to the point of being mutually dependent for survival.
Well, now you understand that thePortuguese caravelit is not one jellyfish but it is composed of four zooids (or polyps). The first polyp is called a pneumatophore, it is that asail shapewhich defines the name of the animal (the caravel is a wooden ship that sails under full sail).
This octopus is equipped with a floating bag filled with gas and has a size ranging from 9 to 30 cm in length up to 15 cm in height. Talking aboutsizethe tentacles are very surprising: these are the longest in the world and can reach a length of 20 meters! But that's not enough, under the floating body there are other zooids, in total the tentacles can reach a maximum length of 50 meters, even if the most common specimens see tentacles that are around 10 meters on average.
Portuguese caravel: poison
It is the tentacles that aredangerous for humans: they are strongly stinging and are in charge ofcatch prey(fish, molluscs, crustaceans ...) and direct them towards the gastrozoid individuals (ie towards the individuals responsible for digestion).
Thepoisonnematocysts (diffuse cells of the tentacles) can be fatal for humans and for many fish, however there are fish that seem to be immune to it: the Nomeus gronovii keeps away from the larger tentacles and is often noticed among the small tentacles close to it of thesailing(pneumatophore) even the clown fish swims with impunity among the tentacles protected by its mucus which allows it to symbiosis with the stinging anemones.
Bites in humans: symptoms
Thestings of the Portuguese caravelcause astrong painto create wounds similar to real whipping (sores). The pain, however, subsides after about two hours.
More rarely thepoisonof nematocysts of thePortuguese caravelit can cause greater damage such as anaphylactic shock. In particular subjects thepuncture of the Portuguese caravelit can cause fever, changes in heart function, nausea and headache.
Although the pain usually goes away within two hours, in some cases it may be necessarymedical care: In case of extreme reactions it is important to seek medical attention promptly.
Portuguese caravel in Italy
It has already happened with other aggressive species (read the article "scorpion fish in Italy") but this time the arrival ofPortuguese caravelit is not related to global warming: this colony of organisms (why call it jellyfish it would be an understatement!) prefers colder waters and summer 2018 would seem to offer ideal marine conditions due to a fluctuating temperature.
TherePortuguese caravelhas been sighted, in a massive way, in the waters of Mallorca and in other areas of the Mediterranean, including the Italian coasts.
In this early season, the Portuguese caravel (Phusalia Physalis) was spotted off the coast of Sicily, Sardinia and also in Reggio Calabria (Villa San Giovanni).
Angela Santucci, marine biologist and researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the CNR in Lesina (Foggia) points out that in the last 10 years, sightings of jellyfish and other "gelatinous organisms" have increased by as much as 10 times.
Before this year, the Portuguese caravel had already been sighted in our waters. The sighting dates back to October 2017, so when the waters of our coasts had now "cooled".
Portuguese caravel puncture: what to do
THEremediesare the same seen in the article dedicated tojellyfish stings. While not really onejellyfish, the Portuguese caravel shares the samenematocysts(poisonous cells) with these animals.
It is important to remember that a goodremedyupon the issue ofpoisonof thePortuguese Caravelit is normalvinegarof white wine, to be used pure and undiluted. Anyone who lives in areas of Italy at risk or just as a trivial precaution, should bring a bottle of white vinegar with them.
If you haven't brought white vinegar with you, any solution with 5% acetic acid is enough ... if the beach has a lido / restaurant, you can ask the establishment or just rinse the burns with salt water to wash away the stinging cells left on your skin.
Absolutely do not rub the affected partportuguese caravel stingwith sand: you could make the situation worse.
If you notice onePortuguese caravelalert all swimmers and keep a safe distance. Contact with thePortuguese caravelit is very painful but I remind you to keep calm as it is fatal only in very rare cases (anaphylactic shock in particular subjects).