The beautiful island chain of Palau Rock Islands consists of many saline lakes which are connected to the Pacific Ocean by rock fissures and cracks. During last ice age the global sea level was much lower and Palau Islands consisted of dry land mass with hollows and valleys. When the ice started to melt the global sea level increased significantly. Consequently, Palau Rock Islands was formed and unique isolated saline marine lakes was formed inland. Palau has 57 saline marine lakes, there is identified around 200 worldwide. During the transgression, jellyfishes got isolated in the lakes. During the last 12.000 years they have evolved into the sub-species we know today with different look and physiology.
Read also: Palau – The Amazing Pacific Rock Islands
Largest animal migration in the world
In five of the jellyfish lakes in Palau there are some unique endemic jellyfish, and each jellyfish species are only found in one specific lake. Therefore, the name jellyfish lakes. 5 millions jellyfish daily swim from one end of the lake to the other to follow the sunlight. It is one of the largest and most spectacular animal migrations on the planet. Jellyfish eats algae living inside their body, who turn sunlight into sugar.
One of the special jellyfish species who are living in Palau Island Jellyfish Lake, are called the Golden Jellyfish or Mastigias Papua Etpisoni – named after one of the presidents of Palau.
It is possible to swim and snorkel around among the colorful jellyfishes and experience the fascinating sight of their migration. However, due to the unique environmental conditions public access to the jellyfish lakes is limited. So it is a good idea to check the restrictions in advance.
Another example of a major animal migration is the migration of wildebeest between Tanzania and Kenya near Masai Mara.
Read more: Kenya – Unforgettable Safari
Palau Island Jellyfish Lake
Air photo of one of the Jellyfish Lakes. Credit: Rift Valley Photographic Lodge