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Day trip to Corpus Christi, saw a million man o’ wars in the gulf coast. First time seeing them in person! Exciting!!!

Posted December 2016 / Rebloged December 18, 2018

These are siphonophores, colonies of a bunch of different types of organisms that… somehow function as a cohesive unit. It’s complicated and I don’t know too much about them besides DO NOT TOUCH! and also they’re not cnidarians (jellyfish)!

Mustang Island State Park

If that’s a man of war your bare feet shouldn’t be anywhere near it. Their stingers are long as hell and can’t always be seen

Yes indeed: if any of y’all are in the water, and you see a floaty balloony friend on the water like you see up there? GET OUT NOW. The tentacles are many, many, many times longer than you see in the photos here, and likely these ones had been torn up as they washed ashore.

It was a little concerning to see SO MANY OF THESE, but: it was December 29 or something like that (cold!), nobody was swimming, I was only barefoot because the tide was coming in and oh boy went OVER the top of my waterproof hiking boots (saltwater and sand in boots in December? may as well go barefoot).

We weren’t walking in the tide, we were well-above the level the water was swelling at, so we weren’t in danger, and we made sure to tell people who had never seen these things before not to touch them (although, they had a pretty good idea not to).

Very, very pretty though!

December 18, 2018

The ocean is fucked up

Definitely do not touch! However, they are cnidarians. They are in the class hydrozoa (colonial) unlike jellyfish. There is a very pretty hydrozoan that is relatively okay to touch, though:

these guys! 


they’re velella velella and they’re very small. some people call them cute names like “little sail” or “by-the-wind-sailor”


man-o-war’s less scary but just as colorful cousin

Whooops yes you’re right! I had a brain fart! They are not jellyfish but they ARE cnidarians (I should know better)

Also, fun fact I learned at the Texas State Aquarium, not all jellyfish stings are painful. I feel like I should have known that already (I’ve tickled enough anemones in my day), but the aquarium had a moon jelly petting tank and they are so soft.

Still, don’t go around touching things unless you are absolutely certain you know what they are!

December 20, 2018

Well hey let’s keep the reblog train going! 

I’ve got two reports due tomorrow and I’m procrastinating!

Nice! The Pacific Northwest has a nice surplus of Moon Jellies, so it’s likely that’s what your mom and uncle were grabbing–same friends I was petting at the aquarium in Texas, AND, same fellow I took this crappy cell-phone selfie with in 2007 on Alki Beach in Seattle:

And since we are talking about jellies washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest, checkout this one I found on Lopez Island in 2013 (the month before I moved to Texas). It’s a Lion’s Mane Jelly (Cyanea sp.):

Unrelated (or… not?), in grad school (what I moved to Texas for), I studied biomaterials and tissue engineering. During her post-doc, my advisor had done some research on surface modifications for breast implants to reduce the foreign body response, and as a result, had several breast implants just… sitting around. So we played with them. I had one on my desk for a while as a stress relief toy. And I was very stressed.

All I’m saying is, Moon Jellies would make great breast implants. Nobody would notice the difference. 

December 20, 2018