MAUVE STINGER | 𝘗𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘢 𝘯𝘰𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘶𝘤𝘢
THE LUMINESCENT JELLYFISH
Also known as the glowing jellyfish, Pelagia noctiluca is primarily recognized for two main reasons: its beautiful violet color and its sting (in English, this jellyfish is known as the “Mauve stinger,” referring to its mauve shade of purple).
I have often come across this small but highly stinging jellyfish while snorkeling. It is typically found in coastal waters, gracefully floating suspended in the water column.
It is not always easy to spot when immersed in the blue, so it is possible to encounter it very closely while swimming and unintentionally touch it, resulting in a sting.
However, there is a third characteristic that makes the luminous jellyfish truly extraordinary, and to discover it, we need to translate its scientific name: Pelagia noctiluca.
Pelagia is derived from the Greek word “pelagos,” which means “sea,” so it could be translated as “of the sea.”
Noctiluca, on the other hand, combines two Latin words: “nocti,” meaning night, and “luca,” which means light. Therefore, translated, the term “noctiluca” means “shining at night” or “luminous.”
In fact, Pelagia noctiluca is a jellyfish capable of emitting bioluminescence. This bioluminescence appears as low-intensity flashes of light, visible to our eyes. The jellyfish emits this light when stimulated by the turbulence created by the waves.
Evidence of this phenomenon was also reported by Pliny the Elder in his work “Natural History” in 77 AD.
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