Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Catching Your Own Jellyfish

One downfall to keeping jellyfish is the lack of availability of some species. Moon jellies, Mangrove jellyfish and Lagoon jellyfish tend to be for sale at least somewhere. Thats three species (there are multiple sub species of Moon jellies that do differ but they maintain similar appearances). What about Cannonball jellyfish, Egg yolk jellies, Crystal jellyfish, Comb jellies, all the varieties of Sea nettles, etc? Those jellies are rarely available anywhere. You might be able to get some from an established lab or aquarium if you are a public operator as well. Even then may still have trouble obtaining some species.

My point here is that most species of jellyfish cant be bought. For most of the jellyfish, wild collection is the only answer.  I bring this up because I will be returning to the coast this weekend or possibly next weekend. I intend on finding some jellyfish to add to my collection but you ever know. South carolina is where Im off to this time. That means warm water jellyfish, off the Atlantic coast. Jellyfish that can be found here could be, but not limited to,

  • Atlantic sea nettles
  • Moon jellyfish
  • Upside down jellyfish
  • Cannonball jellyfish
  • Mauve stinger (purple jellyfish)
  • Comb jellies. 
  • Portuguese man of war
  • Blue Button Jellyfish
  • By The Wind Sailor
  • Pink meanie 
  • Lion's Mane jellyfish 
  • possibly a few Box jellies
  • as well as an assortment of hydrozoans
  • Etc
This is a fairly large assortment to choose from. Some of these jellies are very uncommon, however. Box jellies are very rarely seen.  The Portuguese Man of War, By The Wind Sailors and Blue Button jellyfish aren't out of the question but they are rare and tend to stay far out at sea until storms hit. 

On the reverse side of things, the most common jellyfish is by far the Cannonball jellyfish. I read a statistic that once accounted them for 60% of the biomass of the Atlantic Ocean during summer. That is a ridiculous amount! They can be found in huge quantities sometimes. And yet I cant seem to get one. I would still like to catch a Cannonball jellyfish or two. I think they are pretty attractive and interesting for a jellyfish. They come in a spotted brown color, Pure white and blue (in South America). 

I'm set for really anything I catch, however. I wouldn't mind a portuguese man of war or a box jelly. I suppose I would have to be much more careful though. :) But often times in the Carolinas I see either moon jellies or Cannonball jellies. I once saw a dead Sea Nettle, as well. 

I intend on bringing my microscope so I can see the gender of a jellyfish or try in vitro fertilization if necessary. I'm also bringing a bucket, air pump, oxygen tank, bags, nets, etc. I will comb the beaches, the charleston battery and the tide pools. Jellyfish swarm in on beaches sometimes and dead jellyfish can still be used for in vitro fertilization (test tube babies). Jellyfish are often found in deeper water with less movement. The battery is perfect for this. And of course the tide pools allow you to find all sorts of cool things including a giant moon jelly (true story). 

Hopefully I will bring some new jellyfish back soon. I will also post about some techniques for jellyfishing if they actually work.

~images from~


  1. I'm near Galveston and it's common for us to find man of wars. I thought I read somewhere that no one has been able to keep them in a tank.

    1. Ive heard that too. Im not sure why they have a problem. It may be since they are used to living in the open ocean.