Monday, July 19, 2010

Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Yesterday at low tide, I quickly checked a couple spots in the Stratford Great Meadows Important Bird Area for shorebirds. One of these stops was at the marsh restoration area behind the warehouses on Long Beach Blvd. The marsh grasses have grown quite a bit since the restoration was completed, and it can be difficult to see if anything is in them. I decided, despite the heat, to walk into a bit to get a better vantage point of the pools there. I have permission from U.S. Fish and Wildlife to access these areas off established trails for surveying, and even during these quick stops I record all of the life I find. I did not see a single shorebird, as is unfortunately frequent. The spot is simply not as attractive to them as it was even a couple years ago. I did see this…

It was an odd sighting for a salt marsh. It was clearly a jellyfish, though I was not positive on the species. It is not an area of expertise for me. After I came home and did a few minutes of research, I was relatively sure it was cyanea capillata, or Lion's Mane Jellyfish. Twan confirmed this and said it is the only jellyfish in our region with its tentacles arranged in eight bundles, which is reflected in the eight double rays on the top of the disk. I do not know why it was in a salt marsh, but I can imagine it coming up Lewis Gut then into this area relatively easily. It is not a good place to be when the tide drops. Twan surmised that the very high tides we had in the last week might have helped it find its way in.

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch

1 comment:

  1. Hey Scott, if my weekend coastal wanderings were any indication, those things are everywhere in LIS right now. I saw well over 100 of these large jellies at the mouth of the Thames River on Saturday. In addition, several were washed up at Sandy Pt in West Haven on Sunday morning, including a few into the lagoon/marsh (presumably from the high lunar tides like you said). Some of them were intimidatingly large...