Comb jellies in the Atlantic

Sea life: Atlantic ocean jellyfish

I enjoy safety stops enormously, for several reasons. One is the sensation of floating, with limitless space around me. One is the relative warmth of the water at five metres. Another reason is the interesting passers-by. These are most often jellyfish, cruising along in the water column just below the surface

Compass sea jelly at North Paw
Compass sea jelly at North Paw

The safety stop on a recent North Paw dive was a hive of activity, with heaps of passing sea jelly traffic. First to arrive was a compass sea jelly with tentacles over a metre long and a bell nearly half a metre across. He swam through our small group of divers, clearly on a mission somewhere.

Comb jellies in the Atlantic
Comb jellies (Beroe cucumis) in the Atlantic

I also saw two different kinds of comb jellies. The photo above seems to show two cigar comb jellies stacked on top of each other – I’m not sure – or I’ve misidentified the creature entirely. If you look at the lines down the sides of their bodies they pulsate with light like a 1970’s disco.

Comb jelly at the safety stop
Comb jelly at the safety stop

The creature below is also a comb jelly called a sea gooseberry, but this kind has two long slender tentacles that it can retract at will, and along its body it has the same kind of comb rows (disco lights) as the comb jellies above.

Another kind of comb jelly (Pleurobrachia pileus)
Another kind of comb jelly (Pleurobrachia pileus)

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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