Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jellyfish Collecting in Florida

Just a few weeks ago, I took a trip to Florida. I drove this time, and came prepared to catch any jellyfish I saw. Florida is warmer and sunnier, and therefore it
contains more jellyfish naturally. The amount of jellyfish diversity I saw was quite surprising, though.

On the beach I found two Atlantic Sea Nettles. One was washed up and dead. The other was pretty beat up, but alive. I kept that one.

The dead Atlantic Sea Nettle I found. 

There were comb jellies present too. Mnemiopsis macrydi was found mostly. Beroe ovata was also seen in the waters. The comb jellyfish Beroe ovata is one that I have never seen before. They are much larger than the average mnemiopsis comb. Most of the Beroe combs were beaten up or cut. I tried to keep some, but they dissolved over night. I didn't want to kill any more, so I refrained from collecting any more. On the last day of the trip, I tried to collect some comb jellies, but the tide had carried them all away.
One older Beroe comb, and one young Beroe comb. On the bottom right is a full sized Mnemiopsis comb. 

On the beach I found some very tiny Bell jellies,  Nemopsis bachei. These were found when Sea Nettles were absent. 

On a beach near an inlet, I found thousands of blobs of jelly. They were all dead. I have no clue as to what they were. I believe they may have been some sort of salp or hydrozoan jelly. I also found one dead Clytia sp. jelly. 

Washed up on the side of a saltwater river was the remains of what looked like an Australian Spotted jellyfish. There was only a fragment of tissue left, but it had unmistakable white spots on it. No live specimens were seen. 

I waded through some mangrove trees, looking for Upside Down jellyfish. I found none, however. I do already have Floridian Upside Down jellyfish, but it is always cool to see jellyfish in their natural habitat. Plus, I've read that their polyps can be seen growing on mangrove leaves in the area. That would be very cool to see and document. 

Overall, the trip was awesome. In the end, I was only able to bring back one Sea Nettle. I saw so many jellies, and got a lot of experience, however. 

The Sea Nettle has made a near full recovery. I put it in the cylinder tank I built reccently. It has been doing really well, and has begun to grow back its oral arms. I've slowly moved it from the ocean's salinity (1.026) down to a mid brackish water. (1.021). I figure this will be healthier, as Atlantic Sea Nettles arise from brackish waters. I didn't bring the water down too low, as this one was found in the ocean. It seems to be doing just fine, however.