Pelagia noctiluca is a jellyfish in the family Pelagiidae. Unusual concentrations of the mauve stinger jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca, have been discovered off Spain’s Balearic Islands, as well as elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It is feared the creatures, which can give a painful sting, will show up on tourist beaches in August.
Mauve stingers normally live in the open ocean, so they are often seen around offshore islands such as the Balearics. But they approach mainland beaches in late summer when rainfall drops, and freshwater runoff into coastal seas diminishes, making inshore waters more salty and suited to jellyfish.
Recent droughts have meant saltier inshore waters, meaning these jellyfish have been showing up on Mediterranean beaches in growing numbers in the last few years.
This species of jellyfish, known in Europe as the mauve stinger amongst many other common names, is widely distributed in all warm and temperate waters of the world's oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It is also found in the Pacific Ocean, with sightings in warm waters off Hawaii, southern California and Mexico, as well as other Pacific locations. This is typically an offshore species, although sometimes it is washed near the coastlines and may be stranded in great numbers on beaches. The color varies worldwide, and in addition to pink or mauve, it is sometimes shades of golden yellow to tan.