QuickCheck: Has a ‘don’t touch’ warning been issued over possible jellyfish sightings in Pahang?

Pictures of jellyfish allegedly found on Cherating Beach. - Photo courtesy of Sinar Harian

RECENTLY, there has been a spate of photos being uploaded on to social media of blue jellyfish that had allegedly washed up on the beaches of Pahang. This has prompted a "don't touch" warning being issued by the Pahang Fisheries Department.

Is this true?



According to Malay language news portal Sinar Harian, the Pahang Fisheries Department has advised the public to not touch any jellyfish they may find washed up on the beach because it might be one of the several dangerous species that inhabit the waters of Malaysia.

Its director Abdullah Jaafar said his office had yet to identify and confirm the species of the animal whose photos went viral on Facebook.

"We cannot confirm (the jellyfish species) without an actual sample. So, we advise visitors to the beach not to touch the jellyfish and stay away from areas with these jellyfish and avoid playing in the water or bathing in the area near the jellyfish," he said.

Abdullah said this when contacted by Sinar Harian on Monday (June 6).

Before this, a number of photos of jellyfish that were said to be blue were circulated by Facebook users via the Kuantan and Warga Kuantan 2 page.

They announced the discovery of the jellyfish in several resorts such as Kempadang Beach, Pantai Sepat, Cherating Beach, Cempaka Beach and Lagenda Beach.

Sinar Harian also conducted a survey at Pantai Sepat and Pantai Kempadang, but did not find jellyfish on the beach like the one that went viral.

Asked about the species of jellyfish recorded by Facebook users, Abdullah said that there is a possibility that it could be Physalia physalis (Portuguese Man o' War) species from the 'Hydrozoa' class.

The Portuguese Man o' War isn't actually a jellyfish but is actually a colony of separate animals that are closely related to jellies.

These organisms work together assuming roles similar to organs in a body of an animal that is just one animal.

Like the jellyfish they resemble, the Portuguese Man o' War does hunt using tentacles filled with venomous nematocysts.

While deadly to small animals, most humans have survived being stung - though it is said that the stings are excruciatingly painful.

While the sting might not kill you, if you happened to be in open water when you were stung the pain might make it hard for you to swim so it might cause you to drown.


1. https://www.sinarharian.com.my/article/261889/edisi/pahang/jangan-sentuh-ubur-ubur-biru

2https://www.britannica.com/animal/Portuguese-man-of-war. https://www.britannica.com/animal/Portuguese-man-of-war

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