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Friday, June 3, 2011

Jellyfish Invasion

There have been thousands and thousands of tiny jellyfish in the marina this week. They seem to come in waves - sometimes the ocean is full of them and other times you can only see a few individuals. Yesterday and today I spent some time on my hands and knees at the edge of the dock (with camera in hand, of course) to take a closer look, and I was surprised to see no fewer than six different species. My cnidaria ID skills are very amateur, so I'm definitely looking for input if anyone knows more than I do about my tentative species identifications.

The most abundant species is the aggregating jelly (Eutonia indicans), shown here against both a dark and a light background:



The next most abundant species, that really seems to come in waves, is the thimble jellyfish (Sarsia spp.):


The only one of these species I have seen before is the cross jelly (Mitrocoma cellularia), which has been abundant in recent summers though completely absent in years prior to that:


Now come the three I'm not so sure of, and which I only saw in very small numbers. I think this might be a water jelly species (Aequorea spp.). It doesn't seem to quite have enough "spokes", but it's the closest I can come with my Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Encyclopedia of Invertebrates, Seaweeds And Selected Fishes field guide:


This one might be a hanging stomach jelly (Stomotoca atra). If it is, as the name suggests that would be the stomach hanging out of the bell, surrounded by the lips.


Finally, and this is another tentative ID but also another great example of why jellyfish common names are awesome, the closest I can come on this one is the blob-top jelly (Neoturris breviconis):


As with most wildlife viewing efforts, you end up seeing more than your "target" species. While taking such a close look at the water I also found this coonstripe shrimp (Pandalus danae) sitting on this giant plumose anemone (Metridium farcimen):



5 comments:

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Great pics of a hard to photograph subject. Over here your shrimp would be a prawn as its eyes stick out sideways on short stalks whereas our 'shrimps' have a more closer together foward facing binocular vision type eye arrangement.
As you rightly say no matter what you're looking for there is always something else equally fascinating only inches away!

Great stuff
Cheers

Davo

Patricia Lichen said...

Fabulous photos! I can tell already that I'm going to like this blog! I'm down here in Oregon, apparently near your old stomping grounds, since you went to Reed. (I'm an Evergreen graduate, myself.)

Monika said...

Dave - I've never been successful in photographing jellyfish before, but when there's thousands of them in the water it gets a little easier!

Patricia - Thanks for the compliments! I'm glad you found my blog. Yes, I grew up in Portland still get down there a few times a year to visit family. If you went to Evergreen you can probably relate to the Reed experience :) I hear the two schools have some similarities.

Lois Evensen said...

Very nice jellyfish images. The place where I saw the most jellyfish clustered together was in the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark. There must have been hundreds of thousands of them that went on and on as we sailed into port.

The K said...

Put those images against a sky background and they could be UFOs. Great photos.