Monday, July 16, 2007

Seashore Creatures - Cannonball Jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War

Cannonball Jellyfish (Stomolophus Meleagris) Class Scyphozoa
I hadn't gotten around to putting these on the blog, but I definately enjoyed finding them. On the 8th of June, there were quite a few jelly fish and a few Portuguese man-of-war on the beach, along with a lot of sargassum weed.
The Cannonball Jellyfish is 5-7 inches high and 7-9 inches wide. It floats near shore and is found from the Chesapeake Bay to Texas, the Bahamas and the West Indies. The books don't have a caution about this animal.

The Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis) is another story.
It's class is Hydrozoa and It can be found up to 12 inches long and 6 inches high by 5 inches wide. It floats by being gas filled and is iridescent blue and pink with tentacles of different lengths, some being more than 60 feet long and containing stinging cells.

The books warn that it is highly toxic and "the tentacles contain one of the most powerful poisons known in marine animals and can inflict severe burns and blisters even when the animal is dead on the beach." (National Audubon Society Field Guide To Seashore Creatures)
I'm still just learning about everything on the beach, but, I sure knew enough to stay away from this!
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