16 Aug 2015

Lions mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) on Runswick beach.

Three of these were washed up on Runswick beach yesterday. Here's the largest with the five year old's field assistant's feet for scale.
We kept his feet well clear of the tentacles:
 The tentacles contain stinging nematocyts, and on large specimens of the Lions Mane they've been measured at 120 feet long. The stings have been described as 'like a bee sting', although people prone to allergic reactions could suffer more serious reactions, so don't touch if you find them on the beach. If you are stung, vinegar will neutralise the sting. The large one was beached upside down and looked like a failed Dr. Who special effect...

Close up of jellyfish insides:

 The smaller one was a lot better preserved and looked like this on the incoming tide:

Jellyfish are predators; their tentacles paralyse prey items, the oral arms capture the prey, shred it and move it into the jellyfish's stomach which is in the gelatinous bell. Cyanea live in cooler oceans, usually swimming and drifting in the top 20m of the sea and are common along the Yorkshire coast. This jellyfish appeared at the killer in the Sherlock Holmes mystery The Adventure of the Lion's Mane.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We were swimming at Runswick last week and saw a number of these in the sea. Unfortunately some of us were stung. It felt a lot like a bad nettle sting, but unlike that - went on a for a few days. Wish I'd known about the vinegar!