Jellyfish Ballet

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I bet you weren’t expecting this wildlife in my next post!  Yes, I am sharing photos of a small Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettle I saw down at the water at low tide three days ago.  There were actually several, but this one was the largest, a young one less than 2″ wide.

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Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettle on its way to adulthood

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The Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettle grows to approximately 4-5″ wide with 24 stinging tentacles reaching several feet long.  Their cousin, the Atlantic Sea Nettle, gets twice as large.

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Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettle

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Our sea nettles are abundant from May through October, then they’ll propel their way out to deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean for the winter.  If they do not make it, they will still be able to survive in deeper waters within the Bay.

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Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettle

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Jellyfish propel themselves through the water by rhythmically expanding and contracting their bells.  A weak swimmer at best, jellyfish are mostly transported by wind and currents.

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Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettle

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If you’re newer to my blog, I shared two posts on sea nettles about two years ago.  Probably from the recent hurricane by-pass, large ones had washed up in our creek.  They were so beautiful and graceful, I was mesmerized with them.

Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettles – Water Ballet

Chesapeake Bay Sea Nettles – Water Ballet II

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30 thoughts on “Jellyfish Ballet

  1. In their own, strange way they are beautiful, but that’s not what I think when I see a bunch of them off our dock when I step onto my stand up paddleboard!

    • Ouch! I can luckily say I’ve never been stung by a jellyfish. Hopefully never will. I always wonder what else is lurking in the waters below me where I cannot see…..

      Thank you, Wally! They are beautiful from afar!!

  2. We’ve had a few (maybe 7 or 8) jellyfish washed up on our marsh land/shores recently. They were between 8″ and 12″ across. I hope the incoming tide picked them up and took them away again. Apparently Leatherback Turtles are attracted to the estuary in the summer, due to the vast number of jellyfish. I have mixed feelings about that – on the one hand I hope to see the turtles, but on the other, I’d better watch out when I go swimming!!

  3. Amazing creatures, but one I’d stay away from! Boston Aquarium has a small tank of jellies that is lit by a black light that really highlights their undulating, ballet-like movements.

    • I agree, I have been fortunate to hang not been stung by one in all our years swimming in the Chesapeake Bay. I have seen jellyfish illuminated different ways at different aquariums, it is mesmerizing to watch them.

  4. So pretty! The pictures of the sea nettles in your older posts are stunning! Sometimes my kids would get stung by moon jellyfish at our local beach. Once I saw a lion’s mane jellyfish. Beautiful but hazardous.

    • Thank you, Barbara! They are fascinating from a distance. The ones in my previous posts were amazing to me! Ouch on the moon jellyfish, and I would love to see a lion’s mane, wow!

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