Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wildlife Wednesday: Jellyfish

We spent last Sunday afternoon at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomon's, Maryland. I plan to post more about this wonderful little museum later, but for now, I'll just share our critter for Wildlife Wednesday: the jellyfish.

grainy photos taken with my iPod

I was still disoriented by the heat and flustered by my forgotten camera card, so I forgot to record what kind of jellyfish these are. If I had to guess, I'd say these were moon jellyfish.

Different types of jellyfish are found in the lower to middle Chesapeake Bay throughout the year. They float on tides and currents catching shrimp, fish, worms, larvae and a microscopic crustacean called a copepod.

Sea Nettles, a specific kind of jellyfish, are common in the Bay.  In fact, because of the Bay's low salinity, they're more common in the Bay than any where else.  If that concerns you, NOAA has a real time map forecasting where Sea Nettles can be found.

Growing up within sight of the Bay, I've been stung countless times by jellyfish.  But I was still mesmerized by their grace and eerie beauty.  We spent a long time at the museum watching them.

Sources & Further Reading

Calvert Marine Museum

"Field Guide: Jellyfish," Chesapeake Bay Program

"Forecasting Sea Nettles," NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office

"Jellyfish in Chesapeake Bay and Nearby Waters," by Dr. Jennifer Purcell, Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies, University of Maryland

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