Portuguese caravel, the true origins of the jellyfish that terrifies swimmers

We are worried about the presence in our waters of the dreaded Portuguese caravel. What is surprising, however, is the discovery that has always been there.

Portuguese caravel (Facebook)

Fascinating, certainly, but also very dangerous, thanks to its very stinging tentacles. This is the so-called Portuguese caravel, which many commonly define as a jellyfish, but is actually part of the polyp family.

Its toxin is so powerful that it is capable of killing even a human being, and unfortunately a poor lady who ended up in intensive care in Sicily at the beginning of July knows something about it precisely because of a close encounter with one of them.

Its particular name derives from the unusual appearance it has, formed by a part of its body that literally floats on the surface of the water, with a shape reminiscent of the boat of centuries ago.

Below the seashore, however, its tentacles also reach an incredible length of 30 meters and are not easily visible to the human eye. A defense mechanism that can in some cases be fatal for humans.

Portuguese caravelle: this octopus has always been present in Italian waters

Its arrival in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea was thought to be a matter dating back a few years, more precisely to 1980, the year in which it was first sighted, a recent study has shown otherwise.

Research by the STeBiCeF department of the University of Palermo, led by researchers Sabrina Lo Brutto, Vincenzo Arizza, Rosario Badalmenti, Francesco Tiralongo and Laura Prieto, has brought to light a disturbing discovery. Researchers have in fact studied the origins of this species, going back in time and finding traces even in unsuspected times, analyzing the finds of Italian zoological museums.

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According to the data collected, the Caravelle has always been present in our sea, even since the very distant 1850, according to the find found in the Museum of Natural History in Florence. However, it cannot be ruled out that there may also be traces of it in previous years. An incredible discovery that alarmed bathers.

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