Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pet Box Jellyfish

The title explains only one of three cool finds I made in South Carolina recently.

I took a normal beach trip in SC. I wasn't expecting to find much where I was. I ended up finding quite a lot more than I expected.

Box Jellyfish- This will probably be the most popular of my finds. I found two Box Jellies (Chiropsalmus quadrumanus) washed up on the beach. The first one I found was gravely injured and torn up pretty badly. I preserved it in alcohol. The second one I found had washed up just seconds before, and was very much alive. I bagged that one up immediately. Atlantic Box Jellies are fairly rare, and this was a big deal to me. I've never seen any live box jellyfish before. These have to be the most beautiful jellyfish I have ever experienced. They are an actual blueish color. The pulse strongly, and have these arms of tentacles at each of their four points. I got the jellyfish back home, alive. It died about 2 days after I caught it. This isn't an un-normal thing for box jellyfish to do. They don't often do well in captivity. The jelly began to stop moving and eventually sank. It began to fall part at this point. I saved some of its gonadal tissue to examine. It was in fact female. I intend on catching more eventually, and figuring out what they need to survive in captivity. It may have been that I found an old or death-bound specimen. I left the tank it was in running. Im hoping that maybe there are some polyps in there somewhere. After all, it was female...

Box Jelly eggs. 

Cannonball Jellyfish Juveniles

As you may know, Cannonball jellyfish are very common in the Atlantic Ocean. What isn't common are Juveniles of these jellies. You often see specimens that are tennis ball sized or greater. Well, while I was at the beach, hundreds of baby Cannonballs were washing up. Some were the size of quarters. This is unheard of to me. I have seen one image online of Cannonballs that were around the size of a 50 cent piece.

Most of the jellies were very badly beaten up. Some were cut in half or had fourths taken out of them. Surprisingly, the majority were still alive though. I kept three specimens that seemed to be doing well. One appears to be the smallest wild cannonball ever seen before. It is about 1/2 an inch long and was smaller when I found it. This one is doing really well. It pulses around the tank actively. The other two were damaged and they seem to be going downhill slowly.

Atlantic Sea Nettles

There were also a number of Sea Nettles present. Many got beat up in the surf, but a few lived. They seemed to be stinging people in the water towards the end of my trip. At one point I was even stung while I was simply swimming. I was stung many times afterwards when handling live specimens. Right against the area where water and sand meet, I found one live Sea Nettle. This thing is a monster! I wasn't even aware that Atlantic Sea Nettle could get this big in the wild. I moved it into a bag with my hands and paid the price. I have been stung by Sea Nettles many times before. This sting topped it all. Perhaps it was the size, but it got me good!

I ended up moving my two Sea Nettles into my 20 gallon DIY kreisel tank. They seem to be doing well there. The smaller one is doing especially well. They keep shedding tentacles, however. I worry that the tank is just a hair too small for the larger one.

The Cannonballs got put into the cylinder tank I made reccently. They are doing well in that right now.

I have a surprise that should be arriving next tuesday. :)

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