May 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Sea turtle Marios – the worst enemy of Naxos jellyfish (video)

While the “invasion” of purple jellyfish on the beaches of Greece is causing a lot of discussion, the video reminds us that when we let nature do its work, everything is better for the planet and, therefore, for us humans.

The sea turtle in Naxos, one of many, is the worst enemy of jellyfish. In other words, if you leave the sea turtles alone, they will clean the beaches of jellyfish, as this is their favorite “dish”.

Like, for example, a sea turtle on the island of Naxos named Marios, which devours one jellyfish after another. Over 100 jellyfish in half an hour, as seen in a video taken by the Naxos Wildlife Conservation Unit.

The main predator of jellyfish is the sea turtle, and during our observations we tracked one individual loggerhead tortoise that ate over 100 jellyfish in 30 minutes. This observation proves the main role of sea turtles in the balance of the marine ecosystem, and at the same time, they protect us from painful underwater encounters!”, — noted in the Naxos branch of the Ministry of Wildlife Protection.

Marios is one of Naxos’ resident sea turtles and the video starring her (filmed in September 2021) shows the sea turtle’s crucial role in ecosystem balance and its advantage in controlling overpopulation of this species.

Jellyfish outbreak in 2022 is not only a Greek problem

The problem of purple jellyfish is not only in Greece. Last year, the outbreak was also in Spain and France, and this year the problem has spread across almost the entire Mediterranean, from Portugal in the west to Israel in the east and south in most African countries, as shown on the map below.

In conversation with daily cathimerini Epaminondas Christou, director of research at the Institute of Oceanography at the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR), said that the purple jellyfish is a pelagic species that breeds in the open sea and drifts along the currents, reaching shores and beaches.

“This is the second year that we have seen an outbreak of Pelagia noctiluca in Greek waters,” the director of research emphasized, adding that “the persistence of this phenomenon in Greek waters indicates that there may be a breeding site in the Aegean Sea.”

“Rising sea temperatures increase the rate of its reproduction. On the other hand, the reduction of the pelagic fish that feed on them gives jellyfish ground to spread. The same is with the decrease in the number of turtles, which are their main predators,” Christou stressed.

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