« Archives in May, 2012

Caribbean Box jellyfish is now thriving in southern Florida..Smithsonian

“As the waters off the eastern coast are warming, we are seeing more and more of these jellyfish,” said Vicki J. Martin, a professor of biology at Appalachian St. in Boone, N.C.. The jellyfish have migrated from the Caribbean, riding currents that have changed over the past decade. ”

“They are voracious predators of fish and shrimp and have really wreaked havoc on the state’s fishing industry,” Martin said. “The numbers of box jellyfish along the coast have skyrocketed over the last couple of years. They occur in blooms, to the point where entire fishing industries across the world have been destroyed by jellyfish. Beaches have been closed to swimmers along the east coast in past summers.”

Martin has studied the box jellyfish’s unique eye structure for more than 10 years. Now, she is looking at factors that contribute to their explosive growth off North Carolina’s coast with hopes of finding ways to reduce or manage the population.

Here’s a link from the Smithsonian Institute with more information..  http://smithsonianscience.org/2012/02/caribbean-box-jellyfish-now-thriving-in-southern-florida/

These animals may not be bountiful but one can make a difference in a person’s life.  Be prepared when you go to the  beach by taking our 5% acetic acid jellyfish sting relief solution..Our product is safe and effective but even so, seek medical attention immediately after being stung by a Box species and/or the Portuguese Man o War…Don’t play around with your health with these two animals…

Comments by Professor Martin courtesy of ASU  University News

Advancements in Jellyfish Sting Treatment..ADU Scuba Dive Blog U.K.

There have recently been some very important advancements in the treatments of jellyfish stings in the form of acidic relief sprays that can neutralise the sting and relieve the pain. Considering the high risk of stings for scuba divers in particular and the recent explosion of the jellyfish population, I think it is important to place a product like this under holiday essentials for most divers.

A company called Ocean Care Solutions has developed a jellyfish relief spray that has a 5% level of acetic acid in a viscous formula that is easy to apply and the spray that clings to the skin will relieve the effects of many jellyfish stings in only a few minutes. The home solution to jellyfish stings has always been household vinegar, for the same reasons, because it contains a similar level of acetic acid which helps to neutralise the sting. However, common vinegar does not have a concentration high enough to provide effective relief and because it doesn’t cling to the skin like this relief spray, it is not as easy to apply or as fast acting.

Jellyfish stings can range greatly from the irritating to the incapacitating and even potentially fatal stings of box jellyfish and other lethal species. To avoid getting caught out, it is advisable to carry this small bottle of spray just as a precaution because even if you get only a minor sting, the considerable irritation will certainly make you wish you had thought to bring the first aid spray. When it comes to diving, or just first aid in general, it is very important to treat the injury as quickly as possible; the time it takes to find vinegar, or get back onto shore could make the injury substantially worse than it needed to be.

On a more positive note, these animals are some of the most remarkable and beautiful creatures in the ocean. One jellyfish in particular that caught my interest recently was when i learned about the turritopsis nutricula also known as ‘The Immortal Jellyfish’.

This species can reportedly return to an adolescent state after reaching sexual maturity, which in theory and providing it doesn’t get killed could extend it’s life indefinitely. So rather than simply detailing all of the dangers of jellyfish stings and their effects I will end this post by pointing out the beauty and worldwide fascination with these 650 million year old creatures. But if you are planning a trip to get up close to some of these dangerous species just make sure that you take the proper precautions.

 

Content courtesy of Adu Scuba Blog http://www.adu.org.uk/advancements-in-jellyfish-sting-treatment/

 

 

USA Today selects Beachhunter.net choice for best beach in Florida

Congrats to David McRee beachhunter.net…David is the best source for Florida beach info, accommodations, weather, beach safety and best beach which..his suggestion was selected by USA Today for publication…if you’re going to Florida..check out www.beachhunter.com…most of all..Remember..Hire a Vet !!!
USA Today has just published a list of 51 great beaches, as suggested to them by various travel writers (including me). I chose Siesta Key Beach to highlight. http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/story/2012-05-27/Just-for-summer-51-great-beaches/55220960/1

Jellyfish fun fact..Box jellyfish appear to dislike red and run from it

The jellyfish are very simple invertebrates (no backbone). Their bodies consist of 95% water. The gelatinous substance in the bell is surrounded by 2 layers of skin, They have no brains, or even a central nervous system, but a loose network of nerves in the skin, so they can sense simple stimuli such as touch.

Some jellyfish can sense light, though very primitive ‘eyes’ known as oceli which have photoreceptors, they have no retinas and cannot form an image (you need a brain to process the information), but can tell dark from light which might help them tell which way is up (the side with sunlight) and which way is down.

The box jellyfish is a little bit more sophisticated , they have 24 eyes, including 4 that are “real eyes” with corneas and retinas. Experiments done in a laboratory suggest that box jellyfish might be able to see color, they appear to really dislike red and run away from it.

They jellyfish consists of a ‘bell’ and tentacles. The mouth is in the centre of the bell, sometimes on a stalk, surrounded by tentacles that drive food into it. The mouth opens into a cavity where digestion takes place. The jellyfish cannot hold large amounts of food for a long period of time, they would become heavy, so a lot of food is expelled undigested they are very messy eaters. They have no respiratory or circulatory systems, their bodies are thin enough that oxygen can reach all the cells though simple diffusion.

Jellyfish have very limited control over their movement, they can pulsate which drives water out of the ‘bell’ formed by their bodies and propels them but they are basically at the mercy of water currents. This is why many jellyfish congregate together in a swarm or bloom.

The most commonly known fact about jellyfish is that they sting but not species.  Those they do sting unfortunately frequent popular swimming and beach areas.  So if you do get stung, be sure to take along our Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution made with 5% acetic acid.  Recommended by international medical and scientific community as the gold standard for first aid pain relief from jellyfish sting injuries.  Don’t get stung without it !!

Info courtesy of Hub Pages

Portuguese Man o War…Not a jellyfish ?

The chemistry and biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war is generally misunderstood when compared to a jellyfish.  In general terms, most people refer to the Man o War as a jellyfish but it is far from it. The Portuguese man-of-war is a multi functional siphonophore, an animal made  up of a colony of four organisms working together.

The man-of-war is comprised of four separate polyps. The animal gets it name from the uppermost polyp, an all in one gas-filled bladder called the pneumatophore which sits above the ocean surface.  The connection in name is related to an age – old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles because of the purple-blue color about their pneumatophores.  Even so, the Blue Bottle, found in Australian waters is a smaller specie than the Atlantic and Pacific Man o War. The Blue bottle is half the size with one main tendril compared to a much larger animal with a cluster of tendrils but no less dangerous.

The bluebottle has a single main retractile tentacle hanging from the float that can be contracted to a few inches or extended to several feet long. Many shorter smaller tentacles may also hang from the float. The bluebottle is found in vast numbers on the eastern Australian coast every year. They also occur in South and Western Australia. The sting causes immediate pain which can last more than an hour. The pain is usually in the lymph glands draining the arms and legs.

The tentacles are the man-of-war’s second organism. These considerably thin tendrils of the Atlantic and Pacific MOW can stretch out and around the animal up to 35 ft..  They are venom-filled nematocysts which can be used to explore, paralyze and nourish themselves on fish and several other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is usually excruciatingly painful but rarely deadly although there have been deaths associated with the sting. Even dead man-of-wars washed on shore can still inflict a serious sting so stay away from these animals and keep your dog from “playing” with it.  The life cycle of these stingers is not known.

Another polyp of the Man o War is the gastrozooids which is the digestive organism. A fourth polyp contains the reproductive organisms.

Man-of-wars are generally found in large groups floating everywhere in the warm waters through the world’s oceans. They don’t have independent means of propulsion so they either float using water currents or catch the wind with their pneumatophores. To avoid threats, the Man o War can deflate their air bags and dip just below the water surface.

If you spend much time at the beach, you will see the Man o War along the warmer coast lines from Myrtle Beach, around the Florida Keyes to South Padre Island in the Gulf and the leeward side of the islands in  Hawaii.  Be sure to take along our Man o War First Aid Kit just in case.  Proven effective but if you get stung by a Man o War, seek medical attention just the same.

Sea anemone stings like a jellyfish…

Some kind of sea anemone which would belong to the Phylum Cnidaria (C in silent) and class Anthozoa. This species is related to the jellies, all sharing the characteristic of having specified stinging cells called Cnidocytes. Cnidocyte cells contain tightly coiled harpoons which are released by a pressure trigger.

Some contain a toxin (which is why we don’t touch jelly fish) but all Cnidocyte cells are used for catching prey. These cells come in different sizes which is why we can safely touch a sea anemone. Our skin is too thick for their cnidocytes to penetrate far so it doesn’t hurt but we do feel a tug on our finger when we try to draw away. If you are ever dared to lick a sea anemone, please don’t. We don’t have the same protective layer on our tongue as we do on our skin so those harpoons will get through and they will release a toxin and your tongue will swell and you will go to the hospital.

Fun fact about these guys, they have a mouth/anus (a real term) which food enters the same hole that poop leaves. Their stomach is similar to a draw string sack which they eat and then close. To eat again, they have to empty their stomach to make room. This is somewhat primitive due to the disadvantage. Having two openings for a mouth and an anus means we and other animals can eat another meal even though a pervious meal is still inside, being digested and going through our track. All of us likely have the meal from yesterday still inside us but we can still eat a new meal today meaning we can take it more energy and get more out of our food.

You can’t pick these things up or you’ll kill it. Don’t take anything from tide pools!

Our Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution is specifically designed with 5% acetic acid to provide the recommended first aid pain relief caused by toxins released from nematocysts..safe and effective..Don’t get stung without it..

Areticle and photo courtesy of cbMorrie deviantart.com

How stinging jellyfish nematocysts discharge..

File:Nematocyst discharge.png

The diagram above shows the anatomy of a nematocyst cell and its “firing” sequence, from left to right. On the far left is a nematocyst inside its cellular capsule. The cell’s thread is coiled under pressure and wrapped around a stinging barb. When potential prey makes contact with the tentacles of a polyp, the nematocyst cell is stimulated. This causes a flap of tissue covering the nematocyst—the operculum—to fly open.

The middle image shows the open operculum, the rapidly uncoiling thread and the emerging barb. On the far right is the fully extended cell. The barbs at the end of the nematocyst are designed to stick into the polyp’s victim and inject a poisonous liquid. When subdued, the polyp’s tentacles move the prey toward its mouth and the nematocysts recoil back into their capsules.

If you go to the beach or spend any time in the surf or swim in open water, there remains the possibility you could get stung by a jellyfish.  Be sure to take along our proven safe and effective Jellyfish Sting Solution..You’ll be glad you did..

Diagram and text courtesy of wikipedia

A record-breaking school of Devil Rays has arrived off the coast of Baja

The devil ray (M. mobular) belongs to a small sub-family of stingrays that includes the gigantic zooplantophagous manta ray (Manta
birostris) which can measure 8m in width and weigh 3 tons. In the Eastern Atlantic the devil ray is found southwards from northern Spain and Portugal, throughout the Mediterranean (but not the Black Sea), and onwards
via the Canaries and Azores to Senegal and has been known to possibly stray into the North-Western Atlantic from New Jersey to Cuba.  check out this Utube provided by NatgeoTV.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=74mdJUaRNaA#!

Stingrays are not usually aggressive but have a poison barb that can be very painful if you step on one..remember to do the “shuffle” when entering the surf and be prepared with our proven effective Stingray First Aid Kit….

Cannonball jellyfish..Garden City Beach, S.C.

By Gregg Holshouser – For The Sun News

Beachgoers by boat and by foot found a surreal scene last weekend on Garden City Beach and surrounding areas.

The beach and the surf on the ocean side and inlet side of the Garden City point were literally filled with what are locally known as jellyballs, or by their proper names of cabbage head or cannonball jellyfish. With thousands of the harmless jellyfish lined up on the beach and bobbing in the breakers, a question begged to be answered: Just how unusual is it for this many to be washed up on the beach?

Dean Cain, a regional biologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources out of Georgetown, provided answers earlier this week.

“In May, June and July it’s common to see many of them out there on the beach, and it’s not uncommon to see a lot of them out in the ocean,” Cain said. “They swim around, drift in the current of the ocean but when we have hard, prevailing southeast, south or southwest winds [they can be pushed up on the beach]. [April 25-27] the wind started blowing through with small craft advisories. I’ve got a feeling because of those prevailing winds were from the south and southwest, it probably piled them up [in the Garden City area] and the rising tide funneled them into the inlet.”

April 24-25, while aboard a shrimp boat out of McClellanville helping conduct test shrimp runs, Cain noticed numerous jellyballs in the ocean near shore.

Swimmers shouldn’t fret, however – the jellyballs won’t hurt you.

Jellyballs don’t have any matocysts, the stinging cells found in other jellyfish such as the dangerous Portugese Man-of-War.

The jellyballs are a welcome sight for local fishermen – they are the food of choice of spadefish, a favorite species which inhabit near-shore artificial and natural reefs during the warm-weather months.