Life savers have closed beaches in Queensland with thousands of people stung
08 January, 2019, 22:27
More than 2600 people required first aid on the Gold and Sunshine coasts as jellyfish swarmed beaches in record numbers across the weekend.
Thousands of people were stung by highly venomous jellyfish in north-eastern Australia over the weekend, forcing authorities to close several beaches.
About 13,000 stings were recorded in the past week - three times more than in the corresponding period a year ago.
Lisa Gershwin, who works with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, which is Australia's national science agency, said that the surge in stings is unlikely to be coincidental.
Coastguard association Surf Life Saving said a "whopping" 3,595 people had suffered painful burns after encounters with the creatures, also known as bluebottles for their transparent bluish appearance.
22,282 people sought treatment for bluebottle stings between 1 December and 7 January across Queensland.
Nearly 1,000 people were hurt in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon, with 476 bluebottle stings treated on the Gold Coast and 461 on the Sunshine Coast.
Most incidents took place in Queensland's heavily populated Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions.
The jellyfish activity forced the closure of busy beaches.
If you've recently emerged from the waters of Queensland wrapped up in bluebottle stings, you not alone.
"When you look at a bluebottle, and you see the bubble and the blue fringes and the long blue tentacles, that is actually a colony, that is not an individual".
Bluebottles-a.k.a. Portuguese Man O' War (Physalia physalis), a.k.a. Indo-Pacific Man O' War (Physalia utriculus), a.k.a. not a true jellyfish-is a marine hydrozoan found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Due to the northeasterly winds, we will continue to see bluebottles hanging around.
"Some of the bluebottle sails are right-handed and some are left-handed, across the body, so when the wind comes up it only grabs the ones with the sail going the right way for that particular breeze".
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