Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Atlantic Box Jellyfish Project

My recent run-ins with box jellyfish has gotten my curiosity up! I would like to start researching Box jellyfish that are found along the Atlantic Coast of the US, and even countries south of the US. Unfortunately, I cannot get around to the beaches enough to collect and oversee as many box jellies as I want to. I have decided to form a project that will allow anyone to report or send in samples of Box jellies they find, to us. So far, I have made a Facebook page for the project. It is called The Atlantic Box Jellyfish Project. I think I will eventually create a website for it. So if any of you readers find or see a Box jellyfish, let me know! Samples or live specimens are the most valuable, but sightings and pictures are worth quite a lot too! 

If you find a specimen, please preserve it in ethanol. For pictures or sightings, please email me at (travis.brandwood@gmail.com). If you are able to collect live specimens, please email me, and we can discuss methods and what not. 

As of right now, two main species exist, Chiropsalmus quadrumanus and Tamoya haplonema. Both sting quite a bit, and Chiropsalmus can be very very dangerous! Collect at your own risk. 

Recently, I was in South Carolina, and I found what appeared to be 8 Chiropsalmus Box Jellies. I also found 9 Cannonball jellyfish and two Atlantic Sea Nettles. Only two of the Cannonballs were healthy, and the rest died shortly. The two I have now are not adults, so I am offering them for sale. One of the two Sea Nettles I found was very beat up. No oral arms and lots of damage. This one died. This leaves me with a total of two Sea Nettles right now. 

The box jellies I found were all floating up at the surface. In fact, I got chest deep in water before I realized I was surrounded by box jellies. None of them had much in the ways of tentacles, so I collected away. Many were dead when found, and they all died by the next morning. The night before, I checked their gonad tissue. I found eggs, sperm, fertilized embryos, and what appeared to be a planula. I took all of this and set it in a jar. The next morning I took all of the box jellies out of their water. I preserved the largest and smallest jellies and froze the rest. I kept the fouling water that I kept all 8 of the box jellies in overnight. This went into a tank with an air pump for about 2 weeks. Today I found something polyp-like, growing on some debris in the tank. I separated it, and put it into a dish. I'm very hopeful for this, but we will see! 

Above is a picture of a zygote, or a fertilized egg. It is getting ready to split into 2 cells. 


The biggest box jellyfish I found. It was female. 


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