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Let's talk about Jellyfish in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is home to many different marine animals, including jellyfish. While some might view these creatures as a nuisance, they actually play an important role in the ecosystem. In this article, we'll discuss the different types of jellyfish found in the UAE and how they contribute to the environment.


Jellyfish UAE
Photo credit: @dive_with_phil

International Jellyfish Day


Jellyfish are one of the oldest and most fascinating creatures on Earth. Despite their simple appearance, they are actually very complex animals with a wide range of behaviours.


Every year on November 3rd, people around the world celebrate International Jellyfish Day. This special day is a great opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures and the vital role they play in our oceans.


Here in the United Arab Emirates, we are lucky to have beautiful jellyfish living in our waters. If you're lucky enough to spot one on your next beach outing, take a moment to appreciate its beauty and remember the important role it plays in our ecosystem.


What are jellyfish?


Jellyfish are floating, gelatinous creatures that range in size from less than an inch to over six feet in diameter. Most jellyfish have a round or umbrella-shaped body with trailing tentacles, and they can be found in every ocean on Earth.


Jellyfish are not fish, but rather a type of invertebrate (animal without a backbone). They are members of the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes corals, hydroids, anemones, and sea pens. Jellyfish are mostly made up of water and can range in color from clear to dark blue, purple, pink, red, or brown.


Some jellyfish are bioluminescent, meaning they can produce their own light. This light is produced by a chemical reaction that occurs in specialized cells called photocytes. Jellyfish use this light for defense, to attract prey, and to communicate with other jellyfish.


Jellyfish are carnivorous animals and feed on small fish, shrimp, plankton, and other small organisms. They capture their prey with their tentacles, which are lined with stinging cells called cnidae. When the prey touches the tentacles, the cnidae release a venom that paralyses small marine animals.


How do jellyfish affect the ecosystem?


Jellyfish are often thought of as a nuisance, but they actually play an important role in the ecosystem. Jellyfish eat plankton, which are small organisms that live in the water. Plankton are a food source for fish, so by eating plankton, jellyfish help to keep the fish population healthy. Jellyfish also help to keep the water clean by eating other small organisms that can cause pollution.



Jellyfish Fujairah
Photo credit: @dive_with_phil

What are the different types of jellyfish in the UAE?


Jellyfish are very common in the UAE and can be found in both fresh and salt water. There are over 20 different species of jellyfish that have been reported in the UAE, but the most common ones are the Aurelia aurita (Moon Jellyfish), Cyanea capillata (Lion's Mane Jellyfish), and Tamoya ohboya (Brown Barrel Jellyfish). All of these jellyfish are harmless to humans and are actually quite beautiful to look at. So, if you're ever swimming in the UAE and see a jellyfish, don't be afraid, just enjoy the view!


How can you avoid getting stung by a jellyfish?


If you're swimming in the ocean, there's always a chance you could get stung by a jellyfish. But there are some things you can do to avoid being stung.


First, try to stay away from areas where jellyfish are known to congregate. If you see signs warning of jellyfish, heed them and swim elsewhere.


Second, wear protective clothing if you're going to be in an area where jellyfish might be present. A wetsuit or drysuit will help protect your skin from stings.


Third, use caution when swimming near jellyfish. Don't touch them, and if you must swim through them, do so quickly and gently.


Fourth, have emergency supplies on hand in case you do get stung. A first-aid kit that includes vinegar or alcohol can help neutralize the sting and relieve pain.


By following these simple tips, you can decrease your chances of being stung by a jellyfish while swimming in the ocean.


What to do if you are stung by a jellyfish


If you are stung by a jellyfish in the UAE, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. If the sting is not severe, you can try to remove the tentacles with a pair of tweezers. Rinse the area with seawater and then apply a cold compress to the affected area.


Conclusion


Jellyfish are a common sight in the United Arab Emirates, but many people are unaware of the danger they pose. These creatures can sting humans and animals, causing pain and even death. It is important to be aware of the risk jellyfish pose and to take precautions when swimming or wading in areas where they might be present.



 

If you'd like to learn more about the marine life in the UAE, get in touch to discuss our PADI Fish Identification specialty course.



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