Swarms of Jellyfish Invade Crimea Shores As Incredible Images Show Sea Inundated With Creatures

Swarms of jellyfish have invaded a bay in the Black Sea producing an unusual natural display, photos posted on social media show.

The images reveal countless jellyfish of the genus (group of species) Aurelia lurking on the shores of Balaklava Bay in Russian-annexed Crimea.

While jellyfish are fairly common in the area, such large congregations are quite unusual at this time of year, The Moscow Times reported.

According to Boris Aninsky—a researcher at the A.O. Kovalevsky Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas—the jellyfish were likely transported to the shores of the bay by a southeasterly wind.

If the wind had been blowing in the opposite direction, the jellyfish would have probably ended up in Sevastopol—the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula.

"We have two types of jellyfish in the Black Sea," Aninsky told Russian news site yuga.ru. "Those that have accumulated in Balaklava are aurelia jellyfish. They feed on plankton... they are not dangerous."

"Such an accumulation is an unusual phenomenon in winter, most often the peak biomass of jellyfish off the coast of Crimea reaches from March to July. Now in Balaklava there is a generation of jellyfish, preserved from last fall, it is gradually dying. In general, it just seems that there are a lot of jellyfish—this year there were quite a few of them."

Some social media users who witnessed the unusual sight of the jellyfish along the shores of the bay compared it to "kissel"—a fruit drink with a jelly-like consistency that is popular in Russia and other eastern European countries.

View this post on Instagram

Нашествие медуз!😱 Видео в карусели! Мои сегодняшние сторис абсолютные рекордсмены в плане просмотров и репостов!) Для меня такое зрелище тоже стало шок-контентом.) Не люблю медуз😖, но сегодняшние кисельные берега были прекрасны!😍 Олька спросила, смог бы я заныруть к медузам за тыщу баксов!😆 Как думаете, что я ответил?)) Помню по MTV шла классная передача, где прохожим предлагали разные долларовые суммы за всякую ерунду, типа съесть таракана и тому подобное.) Вот сейчас Балаклава - идеальное место для съёмок нового сезона такого шоу.😄 А вы б за сколько поплавали в этой каше?😄

A post shared by Андрей Сафонов / Крым (@safonov_travel) on

"I don't like jellyfish, but today's 'kissel coasts' were wonderful!" one social media user wrote, according to The Moscow Times. Others said that they were disgusted and did not want to swim in the water again.

View this post on Instagram

Феномен, который можно встретить в бухте Балаклавы весной или зимой - это своеобразное нашествие медуз! Они стремительно заполняют почти всю акваторию. Из-за ветровых течений медузы скапливаются в балаклавской бухте как в мешке! Кстати, если не вглядываться, то кажется, что это лед на воде. . #крым#севастополь#балаклава#море#путешествия#прогулкипокрыму#поездка##балаклавскаябухта#гуляяпокрыму#крымскийтрип#вызов#крымскийблог#блог#свобода#oncrimea#crimeaphoto#crimea_vteme#crimearepublic#my_love_krym#медузы#медузыбалаклава#нашествиемедуз

A post shared by Крым. Горы. Море. (@evgesha_land) on

Aurelia jellyfish—often called moon jellies—are found throughout most of the world's oceans. Coming in a variety of sizes, these jellyfish can be recognized by four horseshoe-shaped gonads which are visible through their translucent, shallow dome-shaped bell, according to The Wildlife Trusts.

They tend to have short, delicate tentacles which are covered in specialized stinging cells—known as cnidocytes. They use these to hunt small invertebrates, such as plankton, and sometimes fish, according to non-profit Oceana.

While the sting of these jellyfish is not dangerous to humans, it may cause mild irritation akin to the burn caused by a stinging nettle.

moon jellyfish
Immersive jellyfish installation by Rimini Protokoll in Eco-Visionaries exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts on November 20, 2019 in London, England. Hollie Adams/Getty Images
Swarms of Jellyfish Invade Crimea Shores As Incredible Images Show Sea Inundated With Creatures | Tech & Science