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Friday 19 January 2018

New species of freshwater jellyfish in Ireland came from China

Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

A Limerick angler has discovered a species of freshwater jellyfish never seen in Ireland before.

The warm summer may be responsible for the emergence of the freshwater species Craspedacusta sowerbii here - the first official record for this species in Ireland.

They were first seen at Scarrif Harbour  on Lough Derg by Pat Joyce from Castleconnell in Limerick who admits he “nearly fell off his fishing stand”  when he spotted what looked like a single small jellyfish pulsing in the water in front of him.

He thought he was mistaken but when he saw them again he alerted the authorities who have now also found blooms  in Lough Erne.

The jellyfish originated on the Yangtse river in China but has spread worldwide.

The creatures are about the size of a euro coin and broadly resemble their marine cousins. They are  more or less transparent with a distinctive white/greenish cross and a white/cream circular outline. They have about  250 to 300 small tentacles

Although it stings its tiny plankton prey, it is not powerful enough to hurt  humans.

The jellyfish do not appear to have any significant effect on the biology or ecology of the waters they are recorded in, probably due to their sporadic occurrence and the short period that the jellyfish blooms are in any water body.

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