BARREL JELLYFISH | 𝘙𝘩𝘪𝘻𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘢 𝘱𝘶𝘭𝘮𝘰
AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER
The Rhizostoma pulmo is perhaps the most common and easily recognizable jellyfish in the Mediterranean.
Anyone may have come across it stranded on the beach or encountered it while swimming near the shore: white and translucent like a giant light bulb, with its bell edged in an elegant deep blue border.
I will never forget my first encounter with the Rhizostoma pulmo, affectionately known as the “lung of the sea”.
I was around 10 years old, on vacation in Campania with my family. It was late afternoon, and I was swimming near the shore. The waves had been rough throughout the day, and the water was turbid. Suddenly, just a hand’s length away from my arm, a massive smooth white globe emerged, as big as my face. I nearly had a heart attack.
I rushed back to the shore, terrified, and observed that strange creature.
Seeing that it remained still, I cautiously returned to the water with a small stick, flipped it over, and realized it was a jellyfish. I was fascinated by its unusual shape and considerable size.
Years later, I discovered that it was a “lung of the sea,” a rather common jellyfish that was almost entirely harmless, causing only slight irritation. That brought a sigh of relief, and whenever I encountered this beautiful jellyfish again, I knew that, as long as I kept my distance, I had nothing to fear.
Due to its appearance and size, the “lung of the sea” is often viewed with concern by beachgoers. However, it poses no significant health risks.
Client: Simone Zoccante / Diorama Nature
Software: Adobe Photoshop
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All images © Simone Zoccante 2018-2023. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Simone Zoccante.