Scientists behind a new jellyfish app hope it will make Australian beaches safer by reducing the number of stings and providing warnings that the animals are present in the water.
Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services director Dr Lisa-Ann Gershwin said The Jellyfish App contained information about swimmer safety and scientific information about jellyfish, including photos and first aid treatment.
She said the app also has a search function so users could find out what time of year jellyfish were likely to present.
“This is for anywhere in the world,” she said.
Dr Gershwin said the app would also allow users to identify a jellyfish they had seen by giving a description and their location.
The app is set to go live with about 230 species, with more to be added.
“That does catch, pretty much, most of the dangerous species and visible species that are likely to confuse people,” Dr Gershwin said.
“The idea behind this is to give people the ability to know a bit more about what they’re looking at so that they’re not afraid of every jellyfish.”
Dr Gershwin said not every jellyfish in Australian waters was a box jellyfish or an irukandji.
“Because there’s so little information that puts things into proper perspective, to the typical person any jellyfish is probably a box jelly or an irukandji,” she said.
Dr Gershwin said the app would help people identify harmless species that were not capable of stinging.
“It’s really about saying this is when and where I need to be careful, this is what I need to do to be safe,” she said.
“I hate to see people so scared that they’re afraid to go into the water.”
The app is scheduled to be released in the coming weeks.
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