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Critter Corner- Jellies

1-lions-mane-jellyfish-swimming-paul-nicklenJellies, Jellies, Jellies

– my most recent obsession while scuba diving.  I’ve always been a huge fan of these mysterious creatures and the obsession was re sparked with seeing my first ever Lions Mane Jellyfish while I was scuba diving at Kelvin Grove the other day.  Have you ever seen one?

“Lions mane” is the PERFECT name for these large tentically creatures that grow in our beautiful Vancouver waters!  Be careful though, their thick wiry manes can sting.  Luckily, because they only live in cold water and scuba divers that see them are fully suited the only area you have to be careful with is the uncovered skin between the mask and regulator, your lip! Since my obsession has started I’ve been randomly googling fun facts.

Some facts are mind blowing.  For instance, jelly fish are the longest ‘animal’ in the world.  Their tentacle span can be as large as a blue whale! Go figure, I think I would probably pee if I saw that.  Which would perhaps help the sting my clumsy self would mostly get from its tentacles (urine actually helps to neutralize the sting, actually anything acidic, most people would prefer vinegar but whatever works!). A jellyfish’s tentacles consist of thousands of tiny nematocysts (tiny barb like structures) which fire when touched. The nematocysts inject a venom into the skin which can cause an uncomfortable bee sting-like sensation (intensity varies with different species).

We’re lucky that none of the jellyfish we have here are really poisonous, if you are unfortunate enough to come in contact with a Lions Mane, you should expect a slight stinging sensation but don’t worry it will only last a few minutes. The slow pulsating movement of jellies is so soothing with their gelatinous bodies and dangling tentacles it’s hard to believe that they are real animal. I could stop and watch them underwater for ages, if my buddy allowed me.  I’m a bit jealous of their gracefulness, with all my scuba equipment on I’m the furthest thing from graceful.  But these creatures have been practicing in the water a lot long then me, thought to have been swimming the ocean for millions of years!

They’ve developed into thousands of different species and new ones are still being discovered.  I hope that one day I can say I’ve seen at least a fraction of them!

DG