Record temperatures in a Spanish tourist hotspot have spawned a new species of venomous barrel jellyfish.
A historic temperature of 41.25 degrees Celsius has been recorded in the troubled salt water lagoon of the Mar Menor in Murcia, on the south-eastern Spanish coast.
Now scientists say the combination of soaring temperatures and other local conditions, including widespread pollution, have created the perfect breeding ground for the new stinger.
Barrel jellyfish can grow up to around 35 inches (90 centimetres) and their tentacles can reach six feet (1.9 metres).
The Scientific Committee of the Mar Menor said in a statement on Monday, 1st August, that soaring sea temperatures cause changes to local flora and fauna.
Some parts of the lagoon registered a super hot 32,4 degrees Celsius, as explained by Emilio Maria Dolores, spokesperson for the Mar Menor Monitoring Committee (Comité de Seguimiento del Mar Menor) in Murcia.
He added: “The temperature has risen notably due to the heat wave we are experiencing.
“There are areas with very little depth where the temperature at two in the afternoon can exceed 34 and even 35 degrees.”
The Scientific Committee of the Mar Menor (El Comite Cientifico del Mar Menor) told how the rising sea temperatures have enabled a new species of barrel jellyfish.
The stinging sea creature, which is part of the Rhizostoma pulmo genus, has spawned throughout the lagoon. It is unclear if it has been named yet.
Scientists have warned that areas of the Mediterranean are 6 degrees Celsius warmer than normal for this time of the year.
David Diaz – from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography – told how the temperatures create underwater heatwaves.
He said: “The equivalent of underwater wildfires, with fauna and flora dying just as if they had been burned.”