I was surprised, a few nights ago, to see large numbers of jellyfish in the sea. It was pitch black and with a failing camera and only a torch for light I wasn’t able to take any good quality photos. However, it did remind me that I had images from earlier in the season...
In mid July, huge smacks of jellyfish were spotted in Village Bay and the beach was littered with jelly ‘blobs’ (who knew a swarm of these creatures were called ‘smacks’?!).
Jellyfish are difficult to identify when they are out of water as they lose structure and colour, but it was obvious there were lots of the familiar mauve stingers (Pelagia noctiluca). This species is widely distributed in warm and temperate waters and often seen out at St Kilda in the summer.
Another common visitor is the blue jellyfish (Cyanea lamardii). These are usually between 10 and 20cm in size with many stinging tentacles.
There were lots of ‘crystal’ jellyfish which were transparent with purple coloured lines radiating from the centre of the umbrella like part of the body.
And finally, I also spotted some Comb jellies, which are similar in many ways to a jellyfish but lack stinging cells and move by beating combs instead of by muscle contraction.
All these critters didn’t put people off swimming in the sea, although they perhaps didn’t stay in for as long as normal!!