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. :)


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