If you’re a beach person, this might not be a good year for you. Expect an infestation of Jellyfish. They seek warm water. And they sting. They like the warm, fishless seas we’ve been preparing for them for quite a few years. We deny our preparations, of course.
Scientists across the Mediterranean say a surge in the number of jellyfish this year threatens not just the biodiversity of one of the world’s most overfished seas but also the health of tens of thousands of summer tourists. ~ Jellyfish threaten Mediterranean beach tourism this summer
I’m going to give it to you straight. There is an answer—besides seeing jellyfish turning up in your brodetto — and it’s ugly.
The predator you’ve been waiting for to quell this surge of stinging sliminess is (may I have the envelope, please?): The ocean sunfish!
If you are like me, you think of those sunfish you caught on a bent pin tied to a piece of thread stolen from Grandma’s sewing basket just before Grampa took you for your first fishing lesson down to the lake. The pretty thing you caught on that cobbled-together gear sparkled in the sun, its little mouth gasping cutely. It glistened with color. It harmlessly struggled in your little palm, tickling just a bit.
Well, an Ocean Sunfish isn’t that fish. It’s big and ugly. It’s also stubby. It’s really called a Mola Mola, because it resembles an old grinding stone in color and texture. It gets huge. the average weight it reaches at adulthood is over 2000 pounds. It eats jellyfish. Jelly fish are low calorie, so it has to eat a lot of jellyfish. Imagine being tracked by the big eyes of a humongous fish like that. I shiver as I type.
I’m not going to sugar coat this description any more than I have already, so I’ll just put a picture up here, not the usual little thumbnail, because how’s that going to scare the bejezus outta you?
Here. Here is your answer:
I know about this fish because I recently visited its home in the Cesenatico Antiquarium. It’s a great museum. They have prettier stuff, of course, but I always search out the odd stuff. It’s a gift. Anyway, you should go. It’s a really good museum. (Before you go, you might want to read Notes on Cesenatico.)
After I took that picture I wondered if I would ever have a chance to weave it into a blog post without it being all gratuitous. It didn’t even take a week.