A shot of the jellies that were heading north in 2015
A shot of the jellies that were heading north in 2015 Tim Maulder

Bloomin' heck: Look at all these blue blubber jellyfish

THE seas off Moreton Bay and south-east Queensland have taken a tinge of blue thanks to an enormous blue blubber bloom.

The jellyfish blooms are a seasonal event, but it may have begun early this year due to the increasingly warmer weather.

Biologist Lisa-Ann Gershwin has researched jellyfish blooms while a research scientist with the CSIRO.

She told Fairfax Media the bloom was robust, if a little early.

"Jellyfish in general tend to respond well to warmer water, it amps up their metabolism, makes them grow faster, eat more, breed more and live longer to do more of it."

The tentacles of the jellyfish have stinging cells that can be painful but ultimately are not a risk to humans.

In 2015, parts of the Sunshine Coast were facing a "blue blubber" invasion, with the jellies creating a polka-dot pattern off Coolum Beach.

Between 20 and 30 people copped stings in a single week.

Coolum lifeguard Michael Daly told swimmers at the time to treat the affected areas with warm to hot water.


Bloomin' hard time

  • Catostylus mosaicus, aka the blue blubber jellyfish, is a species from coastal regions in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Its name is slightly misleading because in southern Queensland and Victoria it is blue, whereas in the Sydney region it is white or brown due to the presence of plant cells in the substance of the body
  • Eats mainly plankton, small fish, some crustaceans, and small particles in the ocean water.
  • The blue blubber has a dome-shaped bell that can grow to 35 cm across.
  • The sting can be sometimes painful but generally poses no serious risk to humans.