Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Jellyfish From Florida

So just recently, I got some new jellyfish that were obtained from the Florida coast. They are a variety of Upside Down Jellyfish. I do already have a species of Upside Down Jellyfish, but I have no clue as to their origin. The ones that were shipped to me are most definitely a Florida species. Currently the Upside Down Jellyfish that is provided at are the same as these jellies.

I find Upside Down Jellyfish to be a rather interesting jellyfish. They seem to be islands with little forests on them; all of which is underwater. 

Interestingly, the darker oral arms of this jelly look like swiss cheese.  As you can see, there are these holes in the tissue on the inside. I imagine this could be space for algae to grow, or perhaps it's just a mark or age. 

My goal with these jellies is to successfully breed them in vitro style. I've tried it in the past, but haven't found any success. I feel that may be due to the fact that I've only tried it on species of jellies that wont breed in captivity naturally. To perfect the technique, I will try it with these guys. I simply have to draw some reproductive tissue from a male and female jellyfish. Then you combine the tissues in a dish of clean water. The eggs should become fertilized and develop into planula. These are located and collected. The planula are put into a new dish and left to settle into polyps. If this method works, I should be able to use it on much more difficult species, such as Cannonballs and blubbers. Neither of these species have been bred in captivity for a sustainable amount of time.

Filtration in this system is quite a bit different from the norm for jellyfish. I took a plastic cup (that once held a large frozen drink) and drilled several holes in it. I filled the cup up about a fourth with small pieces of ceramic rock. Then I put in a tall, standing filter and filled the extra space with more rock. This way, the filter is shielded by the cup. The more holes you drill in the cup, the less flow on each hole. The rocks will also provide an opportunity for bacteria to grow.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Growing Out Moon Jellyfish

My juvenile cold water Moon Jellies have been growing steadily over the past few weeks. Recently they have become large enough that they have stopped growing. I imagine I have about 50 currently. They are all inside my breeding system at the moment, though. They likely need a larger tank to grow out in. So I filled up the 20 gallon pseudokreisel tank. That should be plenty of room for the jellies until they can be sold.

In other news, I am waiting on a shipment of 5 Upside Down Jellyfish from Florida. I am going to try and use a method of in vitro fertilization to produce polyps. I will have more on that later. If it does work, I should be able to obtain polyps from more complex species.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Trip to the Florida Coast

A few weekends ago I took a trip to Florida. I flew this time, so I couldn't bring any live jellies back. I did see some pretty interesting things, however.

One day they were flying the flag signaling dangerous marine life. I saw no jellies that day, so I question what danger they were referencing. Perhaps sharks. That being said, there was also a whale migration moving through at the time. I didn't see any whales, however.

In fact, I didn't see much of anything for most of the trip. It was pretty cold for the first few days. Towards the ends of the trip it warmed up. As I was walking down a beach I came across a dead Portuguese Man of War. This was my first time encountering one in nature. Many people call them dead, when really they are just beached. They don't move much, and its easy to confuse their status. This one was clearly dead, however. It was dried all the way through. Its also worth mentioning that it was only about 1 1/2 inches in size. That is very small for a Man of War. I have heard tales of people putting them in seawater, and watching them "come back to life". Brine shrimp pull a similar trick, so I figured, why not? Unfortunately, no such trick occurred. It really didn't start to decay either, though.

Some of the Man of War's float was deflated. But overall, it was in good shape. 

Walking down a different beach, I saw yet another new-to-me jellyfish. It was a Mushroom Jellyfish or Rhopilema verilli. I spotted it from pretty far away. I attribute that to its size of around 15". That blows the Moon Jellyfish I found in Charleston (9") out of the water. I took a good look at it. Most of the jellyfish was still intact. Im fairly certain it was fully dead, however. I've noticed some deformed and beached cannonballs will still twitch muscles, for quite a while. This jellyfish showed no signs of this twitching. I found it interesting that its gonad tissues were located right under the bell. In all of the jellies I've encountered, the gonad tissue was always well protected within the bell. Cannonballs showed to be the most protective of their gonads, with the tissue being located dead center within their overly thick bells. The reason I keep mentioning Cannonballs is because they are fairly close to the Mushroom jellyfish. I originally thought that the gonads sat within the bell to receive all of the nutrition first, and to be the last thing to die. That way the jellyfish could have all the more chance in continuing its species. Perhaps with the mushroom jellyfish, it let the tissues rest so close to the outside that it could spread its gametes constantly, and have a good chance of reproducing that way.

Unfortunately, my camera died half an hour before I saw the Mushroom jellyfish. I didn't have my cellphone on me either. I guess somethings have to be told and not shown. :)