Witnesses on the northeast coast of Palawan Island, the Philippines have reported a large swarm of Tomato Jellyfish, Crambione cf. mastigophora, for the second time this month. The Jellyfish were first seen on 11 March, then returned on the 23rd. According to Sheldon Rey Boco of the Philippine Jellyfish Stings Project such blooms are common off Palawan at this time of year, with the Jellyfish undergoing population surges in the South China Sea in January and February, when conditions are ideal for them, then being pushed onto the shores of Palawan in March when wind and current directions change.
Tomato Jellyfish, Crambione cf. mastigophora, off Corong Corong Beach, Palawan, on 23 March 2020. Alimar Amor/Manila Bulletin.
The Tomato Jellyfish is one of the most common bloom-forming Jellyfish in the Tropical Pacific, with blooms common from Southeast Asia to Australia and Oceana. These Jellyfish move with a pulsing motion that pushes water out of their bells, but have no control over their direction of movement. They are members of the family Catostylidae, which are typified by the presence of eight, short, thick, oral arms, covered with potent stinging cells.
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