Posts Tagged 'jellies'



What’s behind the sting?

This weekend marks the start official start of beach season! Every year around this time we start to hear more about jellies because people see them while visiting beaches and swimming in oceans. But unfortunately, the interactions we tend to have with jellies in the ocean are not very pleasant ones.

Recently, a young girl from Australia was the chatter among medical experts around the world for her amazing recovery from a “deadly” jellyfish sting. We all know that jellies have the power to inflict pain to us humans, and have heard that some jellies can even be deadly.  So is her survival of a box jelly sting a miracle?

Box jellies are not a part of the Jellies Invasion exhibit, so our experts don’t have to deal with them on a daily basis. But when asked, Aquarist Vicky Poole said, “As this is a creature with one of the most toxic venoms in the world, I’d say it was a miracle.”

The odds of surviving a severe box jelly envenomation is extremely rare. Box jelly stings have a 20% mortality rate, which includes both severe and mild cases, but the extent of the sting, covering her entire leg, is what makes her survival such a surprise for her doctors.

So what’s behind the sting? Jellies are animals without brains (or hearts, for that matter), so there is no “decision” about stinging. They indiscriminately will sting anything they happen to bump into – prey (for food) or predator (for defense). Vicky reminds us that it’s really their survival strategy…sting first and ask no questions later!

What happens when a jelly stings? Their tentacles have tiny microscopic stinging cells called “nematocysts” that look like fishing harpoons with barbs that penetrate our skin, and then stay in place while the venom is injected into the body of the victim. There is often pain at the site, and usually you’ll notice localized swelling or welts due to the skin’s reaction to the toxins. Depending on the species of jelly, the body’s reaction will vary in severity, and some people have a more severe reaction than others. In extremely toxic species, severe reactions may involve difficulty breathing, coma, or even death.

Let’s bust some myths – can anything really treat a sting? Although weak acids (like vinegar) and very hot water have been reportedly used to neutralize jelly stings, your body will still react to the venom in your system so pain management is needed. And if you’re in areas where dangerous species of jellies exist, Vicki suggests that you seek medical attention immediately. After all, she’s no doctor, just a humble jelly aquarist!

Even though these brainless, heartless creatures instill fear among beach-goers around the world, they are truly fascinating creatures that are an important part of our marine ecosystem. This summer before you hit the beach, we invite you learn more about jellies. You can start by exploring the Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance website!

Have you had your jelly fix?

We’ve partnered with Dunkin Donuts so you can See Jelly, and Eat Jelly! It’s one sweet deal. Check it out:

Jellies, jellies everywhere

If you have been to the beach or out on a boat recently you have probably encountered a jelly or two, perhaps even more. This is the time of year that jellies are most prevalent in the mid-atlantic region. So why do we see so many of them during the summer??

Jellies are found in most bodies of water, including the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, and even in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. In fact, some Aquarium employees saw a bunch of comb jellies in the harbor earlier this morning.  In this region, most jellies are seasonal. The greatest variety of jellies are found in the lower bay, in the coastal bays and, offshore in the Atlantic Ocean were salinities are higher. Some of the more common species include:jelly on beach small

  • Moon Jellies, (pictured to the right) found in the Lower Bay and Atlantic Ocean. In the summer months the remains of moon jellies can often be found washed up on the beaches, but they rarely sting people.
  • Atlantic Sea Nettles, found in the middle and lower bay and seen in late spring, summer and early fall and the most likely to sting you. They sting thousands of beach-goers each season!
  • Comb Jellies, found throughout the bay and ocean year-round but most commonly seen in the warmer months. Comb jellies do not have the ability to sting.
  • Lion’s Mane Jellies, found in the bay from late November through May, also known as the winter jelly and also deliver a powerful sting.

Continue reading ‘Jellies, jellies everywhere’

Jellies make for interesting art

Jack Cover, the Aquarium’s general curator of fishes and rainforest exhibits, refers to jellies as living  lava lamps. Many exhibits around the country show jellies as living art.  Visitors see them as majestic and mesmerizing. When visiting our new Jellies Invasion exhibit, one local reporter referred to them as being “other-wordly.”

jellyfish1_1414867c

There seems be a new form of jellies artwork…a 600 ft crop circle in a jelly pattern that recently appeared in a barley field in UK! It’s gaining a lot of media and tourist attention as one of the most intriguing crop circles ever seen in Britain. Click here to read more about this amazing form of art.

Have you seen any cool jellies artwork?

Attention Baltimore: Are you prepared?

Jellies and Dinosaurs are invading Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in a  Waterfront Invasion. Are you prepared? This summer the National Aquarium and Maryland Science Center will have wonderful displays of two very popular prehistoric creatures, each with their own story of invasion…

Though prehistoric, Jellies are still thriving and invading oceans across the world. In fact, in 1990, eight years after the comb jellies first invaded the Black Sea, their biomases totaled about 900 million tons in the sea – that’s more than 10 times the weight of the total annual fish catch from all the world’s oceans.

Continue reading ‘Attention Baltimore: Are you prepared?’

Jellies Invasion is coming!

Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance opens in less than a month! As you read last week, our aquarists begin collecting, maintaining and breeding animals months before an exhibit opens. The jellies are being collected from natural habitats and from other institutions around the world. In fact, we just received a shipment of  blue blubbers and lagoon jellies last week from Japan. Take a look at some of the blue blubbers:

The blue blubbers are one of nine species that will be featured in the exhibit. Even after Jellies Invasion opens to the public, the aquarists will continue to grow our collection of jellies. Aquarists are constantly replicating natural habitats, feeding, caring for and breeding the animals so they acclimate and flourish. The ultimate goal of our “jellies lab” is to establish and maintain breeding cultures of jellies so we can provide a variety of specimans for our visitors to see in the exhibit.

Want to learn more about our Jellies? Click here to sign up for updates!

The anatomy of an exhibit

Ever wonder what it takes to create an exhibit at an Aquarium? It’s a huge team effort with two goals:  to offer a 090430-waterloghealthy habitat for the animals and a great visitor experience. We have been working dilligently for the last year to create Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance, opening Memorial Day weekend. With less than a month go, let’s take a look back at the process.

It’s not as easy as it sounds to bring a new animal collection into the fold. First, there is the issue of space―there is only so much of it. Jellies require much more water than the frogs that previously occupied the same area of the Aquarium. So the first order of business was to provide for sufficient water flow and drainage to the area.  Workers distributed water from the main building, poured a new concrete floor and created a trench drain system. Most of this work had to be done off-hours to minimize visitor inconvenience. Continue reading ‘The anatomy of an exhibit’


Sign up for AquaMail

Like us on Facebook!

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers