15 May 2020

Portuguese man-of-war bloom monitored by GelAvista

Thanks to the volunteer citizens in the GelAvista project of CIIMAR-UP and the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), it was possible to detect and monitor the bloom of Physalia physalis (Caravela-Portuguesa, Portuguese man-of-war) that is taking place in the Azores (Faial, Terceira and S. Miguel islands) and Madeira. In the Azores (island of S. Miguel) there are also sightings of jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) and there were many sightings of Velella velella in mainland Portugal.


This is not an unusual phenomenon at Azores and Madeira, although the images of this bloom are impressive, with thousands of specimens of jellyfish arriving at the coast. However, these blooms have been more and more frequent both on the islands and in the coast of mainland Portugal. The peak of this phenomenon is between April and June and it is possible to see thousands of these specimens, which live in large colonies!


Physalia physalis is a poisonous specie. Its tentacles are highly urticating and capable of causing severe burns and allergic reactions. The bite is extremely painful. Please don’t touch it.


Any occurrence of this or other species of gelatinous organisms can be reported to the GelAvista project via email or the app available for iOS and Android systems.