10 Million Jellyfish and No Sting?
If jellyfish make you feel wobbly then look away now. Astonishing photos have revealed a lake where 10million of the creatures live because they are at no risk from predators.
Hundreds of years ago the lake had an outlet to the ocean but when the sea level dropped the jellyfish population were isolated in the algae-rich lake and began to thrive.
Mr Levantovsky said the lake was like a soup of jellyfish
With no risk of being eaten, the jellies multiplied in the lake on the Pacific island of Palau. Over time their stings weakened and visitors can now swim alongside them with no fear of being stung.
Amateur photographer Vlad Levantovsky captured their habitat with an underwater camera while on a family holiday with wife Olga and daughter Rachel in January this year.
Mr Levantovsky, a 47 year old computer scientist from Boston, USA, described the lake as being like a ‘soup’ of jellyfish.
He said: ‘Even though I had known about the lake, getting in the water and seeing clouds of jelly fishes was an exhilarating experience.
‘The further we swam towards the middle of the lake, the more jellyfishes were surrounding us.’
A close-up view of the jellyfish. They have all evolved from a common ancestor
He added: ‘I think there were literally thousands of them in the water around us, and at times it felt like we were swimming in a jelly soup.
‘We were moving very slowly in order not to damage these gentle creatures.’
However, those who wish to follow in Mr Levantovsky’s footsteps must get a government-issued permit from the Palauan government because the lake is protected. Scuba diving is forbidden and only snorkeling is allowed.
Jellyfish Lake, known to Palau’s natives as Ongeim’l Tketau, is one of over 70 similar saltwater lakes in the islands and contains over ten million jellyfish descended from a common ancestor, the spotted jellyfish.
Palau is around 500 miles east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles south of Tokyo.