Are There Jellyfish In The Dominican Republic? (Solved)

/ / Are There Jellyfish In The Dominican Republic? (Solved)

Being an island, surrounded by large bodies of water, in the Dominican Republic, there are several types of jellyfish, although honestly, they are very rare to see.

But there is one jellyfish in particular called Portuguese Carabela (Physalia physalis) that could be especially dangerous and that people are afraid of.

Many people can suffer allergic reactions to the sting of this jellyfish.

In the Dominican Republic, the presence of the Portuguese Carabela jellyfish has been detected, but very rarely.

This type of jellyfish is not really common to see on the coasts of the Dominican Republic, besides this jellyfish does not move in groups.

There are more than two thousand kinds of jellyfish in the oceans, it is very difficult not to see jellyfish in places where there are coasts.

If you are afraid of encountering one of these jellyfish on a beach in the Dominican Republic, chances are that there really aren’t any.

Although there have been cases of sightings and even stings, these are isolated events, things that do not happen very often.

These jellyfish are usually found at the bottom of the sea, isolated, in case you encounter one of them, it is best to keep your distance.

Types of jellyfish in the Dominican Republic

The “living waters” as they are popularly called in the Dominican Republic, inhabit different places, some in shallow areas.

Among them are the inverted jellyfish (Cassiopea spp.) found in mangroves and seagrass meadows, in Boca Chica they are already known and confused with anemones.

The moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), which has four pink marks that look like a flower, is found in open waters and due to the current can occur in large numbers near the coast and the Portuguese frigate (Physalia physalis), which is not a true jellyfish.

About the Portuguese Caravel (Physalia physalis)

The name caravel refers to the way they move in the ocean. They have a kind of gelatinous sail of up to 30 centimeters filled with gas, which is pushed by the wind and currents.

Under this kind of sail and the body are several tentacles that can reach up to 20 meters long, where small capsules with venom (nematocysts) are found and they use them to capture their prey, paralyzing them with a powerful protein toxin.

The nail-shaped stinging cells, called nematocysts, can penetrate the skin of humans and burst inside it, causing great pain with neurotoxic, cytotoxic and cardiotoxic consequences, resulting in severe pain and, in some documented cases, death.

These marine animals inhabit tropical waters throughout the world and do not move in groups.

Unlike jellyfish, which are individual organisms, a Portuguese dogfish is actually a floating colony. Its life cycle begins as a single polyp resulting from sexual reproduction (protozooid).

In case of seeing a Portuguese manta ray, the best thing to do is to move away quickly, observing where the tentacles are, and if you come into contact with them.

The first thing to do is to apply ammonia or alcohol to the affected skin and seek medical attention to avoid complications. Even in dry areas, the tentacles are capable of injecting the toxin.

Are there jellyfish in Punta Cana?

As I mentioned at the beginning of the topic, it is very difficult for jellyfish not to exist in places surrounded by seawater and coasts.

In Punta Cana jellyfish have been observed on some occasions, in some beaches of Bavaro, the presence of the Portuguese Carabela (Physalia physalis) has been detected in an isolated way.

It is not that it is an invasion of jellyfish or anything like that, nothing alarming, although taking into account the danger of this jellyfish for people who suffer from allergies, it is always given the warning, of a possible encounter, however remote it may be.

What to do if you get stung by a jellyfish?

If the affected person still has remains of tentacles attached, they should be carefully removed with gloves or some non-irritating material to avoid further contact.

The skin should be cleaned with salt water (seawater, for example) or saline, if available.

The use of freshwater is not recommended, since the difference in osmotic pressure may activate some nematocysts still present in the patient’s skin and worsen the lesions.

Vinegar, urine, mud, and other similar products that can trigger bacterial infections should not be used either.

The affected areas should be protected from direct sunlight.

In those cases where the pain or itching does not subside, or new associated clinical signs appear, a visit to the nearest medical center is recommended.

Analgesics, antihistamines, and corticosteroids for cutaneous use are generally used.

Keep calm: serious cases are very rare.

I wrote a much more complete topic, in case you are interested in knowing more about dangerous animals in the Dominican Republic.



  1. Heidi Mercado says:

    Hi Elvis,

    I came across your blog because I was wondering what types of jellyfishes are in Dominican Republic. I recently visited to bavaro. Decided to do an excursion to Saona island which by the way it’s gorgeous. While in the waters i felt a sudden pain. I climb back to the boat to see what had happened. I realize I got stung by a jellyfish. I would say their was about 50- 80 people in the water and i was the only one that got stung. Its been a week now and the reddish mark is still there. It still burns and it also itches. Hopefully this is helpful for other travelers to Saona Island.

    1. Elvis Alcequiez says:

      Hi Heidi, sorry to hear about what happened to you, thanks for your story.

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