Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

Posts tagged ‘jellyfish’

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away . . .



In a galaxy far, far away . . .

Oh wait no, this was yesterday, diving in a soup of Red Eye-Medusa.

Imagine the water thick with plankton to the extent that it actually feels soupy, and throughout, these jellies are suspended . . . like little, living fairy lights in the dark.

When the visibility is poor like this, it of course limits what else can be seen. But, when you’re in the dark, that’s where you are and that’s where there is still much learning to be done and beauty to be seen.

Yep = life metaphor.

Polyorchis penicillatus are up to 10 cm in size and they are “sink fishing” when hanging like this (detail below).

Look at the bottom of the bell for the red “eyes” (eyespots / ocelli). These can sense light intensity, helping the jelly know which way is up.

The stomach is in the middle and the gonads are the elongate organs surrounding that. Species has up to ~160 tentacles (more often around 100). This jelly species makes “hopping” motions. In part, this is believed to help when feeding near the seafloor by stirring up prey (true story).

More detail on feeding from the University of Oregon:
They feed in both the water column and on the bottom, using different methods for each (Mills et al. 2007). On the bottom, they perch on their tentacles and eat benthic organisms by touching the sediment with their manubrium [stomach with mouth at tip]. Sometimes, they will hop on the sediment, likely to stir up possible prey or move to a new location (Mills 1981, 2001). In the water column, they use “sink fishing” to find their prey. During sink fishing, the medusae extend their tentacles out from their bell and let the distal ends sink downward. They either maintain their position in the water column or sink slowly and catch prey with their tentacles. When a prey item touches a tentacle, the medusa will use that tentacle to bring the prey to the manubrium, though large prey sometimes require more tentacles; this process causes cessation in swimming and crumpling (Arkett 1984).”


Another Red-Eye Medusa at the same site in Port Hardy.
Species of sea star on the anchor chain is a Leather Star.

Source of annotated diagram below and ALL you wish to know about the species:

Polyorchis penicillatus, A publication of the University of Oregon Libraries and the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology Individual species.

Submerge . . .

Come away with me . . . spend 3 minutes submerged in the shallows of the eastern North Pacific, photographing jelly species.

There is no place I’d rather be than here, learning about the richness and wonder of life in these cold waters.

With huge gratitude to Roger McDonell – underwater videographer and dive buddy supreme – for having taken this video.




Video taken during our weekly dive as the Top Island Econauts Dive Club.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish – Sherlock You Are Wrong!

I had a wonderful opportunity to photograph and film a lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) today.

The 1.5 minute annotated video clip below will give context to my “Sherlock – You Are Wrong” statement.  



Click here to see a short clip of the other big jelly species that can be found in our waters – the egg yolk jelly (Phacellophora camtschatica) at up to “only” 60 cm across. 

Mystery Organism – A Jellyfish With a Stalk?!

This is a Marine Detective case for those of you who appreciate the mini-mysteries as much as the whale wonders.

Gillian Butler and Erin Paul of found this remarkable invertebrate off their kayak base camp in Johnstone Strait, north-eastern Vancouver Island in September of 2010. 

I was thrilled to get the “What’s this?” email from them as this is an organism I know is in our ocean but that I have never been able to find!

It is a jellyfish that is only 3 cm wide and is usually attached to kelp . . . by its stalk!

Stalked Jelly – photo by Gillian Butler

Yes, it is species of stalked jellyfish (stauromedusae). There is currently (2019) some discussion about if this is a new species. It was previously understood to go by the common name the “Oval-Anchored Stalked Jelly” (Haliclystus sp).

Stalked jellies never become free-swimming, bell-shaped “medusa” like most jellyfish species. Their stalk is sticky allowing them to attach to eel grass, seaweed or rocks in the shallows.  They have 8 “arms” that look like they have pom-poms at their ends.  These clusters of 30-100 tentacles have stinging cells so that the stalked jelly can catch small crustaceans and bring this food to their mouth (positioned at the centre of the 8 arms).

Only about 50 species of stalked jelly had been discovered worldwide but, recently, new extremely deep-dwelling species been discovered around hydrothermal vents.

They are remarkably mobile which you will see in the Lester B. Pearson College video at the link below. If the stalk becomes detached, the animal can hold on with its tentacles till it reattaches its stalk. The student video will also allow you to see the base of the stalk and how the arms can close up.


Thank you Gillian and Erin!


Stalked Jelly found by yours truly on July 1, 2019.