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The White Spotted Jellyfish migrates to the Gulf of Mexico

The White Spotted Jellyfish or Phyllorhiza punctata, is a native of Australia and is also known as the Australian spotted jellyfish. They are a beautiful species native to the Western Pacific ocean in general, but also found in North America, where they are an invasive species.  It grows to the size of about 45-50 centimeters in diameter, and is ocassionally known to grow to a maximum length of just a little over 60 centimeters in size.

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They look extremely beautiful with the design of white spots over their translucent gelatinous body and their frilly oral arms add another aspect of charm to their appearance. This jellyfish is an eating machine filtering 13,200 gallons of sea water a day devouring plankton. Additionally, they are fairly harmless and their sting contains only mild venom which does not cause any serious effect or reaction in humans. Application of Ocean Care Solutions Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution can cure the little burning sensation that may be caused by the sting.

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The white spotted jellyfish has involuntarily migrated to the Gulf of Mexico. It is believed that the animal may have gotten trapped in the ballast tank of a marine vessel and got transported to the Gulf of Mexico where they can now be found in large numbers. The native marine species in the Gulf of Mexico are now beginning to face the problem of non availability of plankton due to the presence of the white spotted jellyfish.

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www.oceancaresolutions.com

The Solution for marine sting injuries…Don’t get stung without it  !!

 

How Jellyfish sting..National Sea Rescue Institute

By Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson

This last week there has been an influx blue bottles washing up on False Bay beaches.  This prompted an inquiry as to how jellyfish actually sting and why is it so painful when you are stung.

The answer is rather surprising.

Although Jellyfish are among the top five most deadly animals on earth; our interaction in South Africa is limited to relatively harmless, non life-threatening, yet admittedly painful (read personal experience) stings.

The box jelly which can be found from Port Elizabeth to Angola is comparatively benign compared to its cousins in the rest of the world.
Since 1884 at least 5,567 deaths have been attributed to box jellyfish alone. Some 20 to 40 people die from stings by box jellyfish annually in the Philippines alone, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation. Box jellyfish belong to a class that includes 50 described species.  Box jellyfish have tentacles covered in tiny biological booby traps known as cnidocysts.
Each cnidocyst contains a tiny dart and a load of poison that cause “the most explosive envenomation process that is presently known to humans”.  Included in this class is the most venomous animal on earth, it can kill a human in less than 5 minutes and contains enough venom to take out 60 adults.  It is called a sea wasp or Irukandji jellyfish. What makes this more surprising is that some species of Irukandji jellyfish are less than 10 mm in bell diameter.  The name Irukandji, comes from the symptoms following a sting and the jellies that cause this were named in 1952 by Hugo Flecker, after the Aboriginal Irukandji people who live in Palm Cove, north of Cairns, Australia, where stings are common within the community.

Jellyfish inject their venom by way of the many tentacles dangling from their bell, or bodies.  The box jelly, which gets its name from the boxy shape of its bell, has 4 tentacles, each of which contains about 5,000 stinging nematocysts, housed in cells called cnidoblasts.  Nematocysts are like little stinging darts that fire whenever the tentacle comes in contact with chemicals on the surface of its prey.  A single encounter with a jellyfish can leave you with thousands of stings, and the powerful venom doesn’t waste any time getting to work.  Many victims stung at sea, go into shock or die of heart failure before they can even reach the shore.
Not only is jellyfish venom damaging to the heart, muscles and nervous system, it’s also dermonecrotic, meaning it’s capable of killing skin cells and underlying tissue, leaving you with dead, blackened skin and potentially permanent scarring.  Some jelly venom even breaks down blood cells.  To make matters worse, your initial instinct to shake the offending stingers off makes the tentacles contract and stick tighter to your skin, potentially releasing even more stingers into your already burning flesh.

How do you get Stung?
Each cnidocyte cell contains a nematocyst; which comprises a bulb-shape capsule containing a coiled hollow thread-like structure attached to it.  The outward facing side of the cnidocyte has a hair-like trigger called a cnidocil, when the trigger is activated (usually on contact with a skin protein), the shaft of the cnidocyst penetrates the target organism, and the hollow thread is everted into it.  This process happens incredibly quickly and with a surprising amount of force.

Structure of a nematocyst:
The cnidocyte capsule stores a large concentration of calcium ions, which are released from the capsule into the cytoplasm (the stuff inside the cell excluding organelles) of the cnidocyte when the trigger is activated.  This increase of calcium literally forces water to be drawn in to the capsule which pushes onto the nematocyst and causes it to eject rapidly.  The coiled nematocyst is a hollow tube that exists inside the cell in an “inside out” condition.  The pressure of water flowing into the cnidocyte forces the water into the tubular nematocyst causing it to right itself as it comes rushing out of the cell with enough force to impale a prey organism.

This discharge takes no more than a few microseconds, and is able to reach accelerations of about 40,000 g (g – referring to gravitational force).  Recent research suggests the process occurs as fast as 700 nanoseconds, and the thread reaches an acceleration of up to 5,410,000 g.  This is amazing as humans typically pass out at 9 g’s and fighter pilots ejection seat fire with 32 g’s.  In fact the highest gravitational force a human has ever survived was 178 g by a British Formula One racer, David Purley, who crashed in 1977, his car going from 173 km/h to 0 in only 66 cm  (which basically means he hit a wall and the car structure compressed to decelerate him).  He broke many bones, but survived and this deceleration of his, is believed to be the highest ever survived by a human being.  The closest human experience of a nematocyst firing is if our skin was the outside of an aircraft and the nematocysts was a missile… I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…

Cnidocytes can only fire once; used cnidocytes have to be replaced, which takes about 48 hours.  To minimise wasteful firing, two types of stimulus are generally required to trigger cnidocytes: cilia (hair) in mechanoreceptors (cells which detect vibrations) contact, and nearby sensory cells which “smell” chemicals (usually skin proteins) in the water.  This combination prevents them from firing at distant or non-living objects.  Australian lifeguards used to wear women’s pantyhose to protect them from being stung, as although they would brush past a jelly nematocyst, the nematocyst couldn’t smell their skin and thus wouldn’t fire.  Thankfully theses days lifeguards look more manly thanks to the invention of lycra full body swim suits.  Some jellies and anemones are even more sophisticated with their mechanoreceptors tuned to specific vibration frequencies such as the swimming motion of its prey.  It’s thought that this is the reason why you can touch an anemone, rather than sting you and waste its cnidocytes, it will withdraw its tentacles into its body.  Groups of cnidocytes are usually connected by nerves and if one fires, the rest of the group requires a weaker minimum stimulus than the cells that fire first.

It is possible to get stung even while wearing a wet suit although usually this happens as you remove the wet suit and drag it over your skin.  The wet suit will have skin cells that have rubbed off you and become stuck to the wetsuit.  Some of the nematocysts may fire and anchor the tentacle into the suit as they smelt the skin cells.  You may not see the tentacle but you can become stung as you are removing the suit, even if the suit has been drying in the sun.  This is because nematocyst can fire independently from a nerve impulse and even several weeks after being on the suit (ask me I know!).

Why is it so hard to get the tentacles off you?

There are actually 2 forces which help to attach the tentacles to prey: 1) adhesion of the nematocyst capsule to the tentacle 2) the stickiness of mucus covering the tentacle and in sea anemones (which are related to jellyfish) a third force exists 3) adhesion of the nematocyst threads from specialized cells called spirocysts, to the prey.

Tentacles are designed to stick so they can be incredibly difficult to remove. The best way is to use gloves and a credit card and scrape them off the skin.
Flushing the area with water and rubbing sand can actually cause more tentacles to fire.

How is their venom delivered?

There are three types of venom which will be injected into you when you are envenomated by a nematocyst.  On the outside of the dart is capsular plaque.  Inside the dart which is essentially a hollow tube, is tubular matrix.  Inside the nematocyst is capsular matrix.  As the coiled tube is being fired it twists and everts and has a motion similar to that of a drill.  The spines will appear and help to anchor the nematocyst to you.  During the twisting motion the capsular plaque and the tubular matrix is released into your skin surrounding the dart.  Studies have shown that the tubular matrix causes blood cells to breakdown.  As the nematocyst is still under pressure the capsular matrix is forced through the dart to the tip, once it has reached the end of the dart it will burst the dart and the poison will be expelled into your body in small drops.

As symptoms are very rapid following a sting, some of the venom is delivered directly into your blood stream.  Some nematocysts are capable of firing to a depth of more than 550 um, which would place the tip of the shaft deep into your skin tissue. Due to the large number of nematocysts that fire during a sting, it is possible that some of the capsular matrix can be introduced directly into the blood stream.  This coupled with the tubular matrix which, is being released all the way down the shaft will result in very rapid cardiovascular effects as well as resulting in massive skin death. In most cases however, the bulk of all three matrices pass into extra-vascular spaces and this will result in the skin pain, skin damage and acute inflammatory response at the sting site.

Thankfully there’s somewhat of a cure, if you can get to it fast enough!  Acetic acid solutions like vinegar have been shown to render ONLY the stinging cells in box jellies, harmless, preventing them from firing more toxins into your body.

Ocean Care Solutions Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution is 5% acetic acid and proven effective on a variety of jellyfish stings…Don’t get stung without it !!

This article was recast for information purposes only.The NSRI does not endorse OCS Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution ..

Stalked Jellyfish..A strange mixture of Crinoid and Sea Anemone

Image: Wikipedia

Stalked Jellyfish? What? It may seem strange but there really is such a thing as a jellyfish with a stalk. They have abandoned the usual life of swimming with the sea’s most graceful wobble and have instead opted to attach themselves to the floor and stay there.

The 50 or so species of Staurozoa range between a few millimetres to 15 cm in height. Most come from cold, coastal environments in the northern hemisphere, but some explorers find themselves around Antarctica and the biggest ones come from the deep sea.

Image: California Academy of Sciences

Their affinity to the floor starts right at the beginning. You might remember how jellyfish start outas a tiny planula that swims using hair-like cilia. Stalked Jellyfish are similar, except their planula have no cilia and creep along the ground like a slug. There’ll be no care-free drifting for them, they got to get to work finding a nice site to set up home.

Their usual place of residence are stones, algae, eelgrass and the like. The planula attaches itself and grows into a polyp just like the usual jellyfish. But they don’t go through strobilation, where the polyp segments into a stack of tiny jellyfish. Instead, the whole polyp matures into an adult and remains attached to their surface.

Image: California Academy of Sciences

They end up as a strange mixture of Crinoid and Sea Anemone. They have 8 arms, each tipped with a pom-pom of tentacles for catching small crustaceans. The whole creature looks like quite a nice, decorative goblet, or you could turn it around and turn it into a fancy light fitting. Or maybe just leave it where it is. Up to you.

Just like Sea Anemones they can slowly slide along the floor to find better situations, but some of them have sticky tentacles so that they can somersault their way to pastures new. Some even have to do this because the youngsters live on algae that can’t actually support their weight when they approach adulthood. You wouldn’t have thought a jellyfish could have an adolescence full of difficult upheavals, but they have managed to find a way.

Image: California Academy of Sciences

Reproduction is achieved by the tried and true method of chucking all your stuff out and letting them get on with it. For such lovely little flowers as these I’m willing to consider it some kind of “sea-swept pollination”, but just this once and only because it’s you.

 

Article courtesy of realmonstosities.com

Come dive with the jellyfish..a Blue Ocean Film

Jellyfish sting fact sheet…answers to your marine sting questions

What is Sea Bathers Eruption?

Sea Bather’s eruption is an itchy rash, which tends to affect the areas of the skin covered by swim wear, rather than exposed areas, after swimming in the sea. It is an allergic reaction to the toxin injected by the stinging cells of hydromedusae (the larval forms of jellyfish), which tends to occur
after the person has left the water. Children are most affected – possibly due to their softer skin.


Those prone to allergic skin reactions are also more likely to be severely affected.

How does Sea Bathers Eruption occur?

Warm weather and onshore winds bring the tiny organisms close to the shoreline. Being microscopic and largely transparent, they become trapped underneath swim wear, or in peoples’ hair. Generally,
as the swimmer gets out of the sea, water drains from the swim wear and traps the organisms between the fabric and the skin, causing the stinging cells to release toxin into the skin. Each organism has several of these stinging cells. Wearing swim wear for prolonged periods after
swimming, mechanical stimulation (rubbing with a towel), osmotic changes that occur with evaporation and when rinsing off with freshwater, all increase the chances of the jellyfish discharging toxin, and make the rash worse. Thorough laundering is needed to remove the organisms before the swim wear is worn again.

What are the health risks to humans from Sea Bather’s Eruption?

Generally, those affected have an itchy red rash in the swimwear-covered areas. The rash can vary from being mild (slight discomfort) to severe. It can last for a week or more. Calamine lotion, antihistamines and mild steroid creams may be helpful.  Some children become unwell with headaches, nausea and lethargy for several days, and require treatment with steroid tablets or syrup.

Ocean Care solutions Jellyfish Sting Relief solution has been proven safe and very effective for swimmer’s itch..Lidocaine free 5% acetic acid spray is specially formulated to treat the skin and the itch..Don’t go to the beach without your bottle…

 

Information provided by: Aukland Regional Public Health Service

 

Incredible Photographs of Jellyfish by Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

In 2007, Russian underwater photographer Alexander Semenovgraduated from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University in the department of Zoology. He specialized in the study of invertebrate animals, with an emphasis on squid brains. Soon after, he began working at the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) as a senior laborer. After four years of working at the WSBS dive station, he became chief of the diving team. He now organizes all WSBS projects, and dives by himself, always with a camera.

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish photos Alexander Semenov

Since discovery in 1870, the Lion's Mane is still the largest jellyfish

Way back in 1870, a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish washed ashore in Massachusetts Bay. Jellyfish wash up all the time, but this one was special… this one has a bell that was 7’6″ in diameter and tentacles that were nearly 120 ft long! That means that the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish might just be the  longest animal alive!

The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish doesn’t always grow that large. In fact, most of the time their bell is only around a few feet wide, and those that live in the warmer waters max out around a foot and a half. Basically, the colder the water the larger they grow! The species is rarely found at latitudes lower than 42 degrees, and are nonexistent in the Southern Hemisphere.

All Lion’s Manes, regardless of size, have tentacles that are clustered into eight segments. There are at least 65 tentacles per segment, though there can be as many as 150, and these tentacles can grow over 100ft long!

If you touch the tentacle of a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, you will probably get stung.. which results in blistering, irritation, and muscle cramps. Stings are not thought to be fatal to humans.

Take along Ocean Care Solutions Jellyfish Sting Relief…safe and effective, Don’t get stung without it..!!

Blog courtesy of Lauren animaladay.blogspot.com

Safely Dive With Stingrays…avoid the attack zone..

As they gently glide a few inches above the sand, stingrays appear elegant, peaceful and calm – and they are ninety-nine percent of the time. The only time divers need to worry is when stingrays feel endangered. A frightened sting ray can plunge its sharp, venomous sting straight through a wetsuit and deep into a diver’s flesh.
While diving, stingrays may be approached with little risk. On the rare occasion that a stingray strikes a diver underwater, the diver has most likely inadvertently threatened or cornered the animal. Perhaps the diver hovered directly over the ray or floated in front of it making the stingray feel trapped against a reef without an escape route.
Because a stingray sees and swims forward easily, leave it a forward escape route. Most importantly, stay out a stingray’s striking zone, the area directly above the ray. The ray can easily strike in the area at the top of its back by arching its tail forward. By contrast, the area behind the ray’s back and the space to its sides are difficult for the ray to reach without turning its body or making swimming adjustments. Divers who are alert and aware of the stingray’s attack zone should be relatively safe.

Stingray attacks are more likely to occur to divers who are entering or exiting the ocean through shallow water and accidentally step on a stingray. Naturally the stingray will react. When the stingray is stepped on, it quickly whips its long tail forward and down, which jabs the sting at the base of the tail into the offender. This is a defensive maneuver designed to remove the diver’s foot from the stingray’s body, and it works. To avoid stepping on top of a stingray, divers can shuffle their feet when entering or exiting the water. In addition, divers should be aware of stingray habitats such as long sandy shores. Because neither dive booties nor fins protect a diver from a stingray’s hard, razor sharp sting, the diver should be vigilant if he suspects he might be in a stingray habitat.

Although the possibilities of being stung are in yiour favor, take along our Ocean Care Stingray First Aid Kit.  Everything is there to provide you immediate first aid with easy to follow directions on just what to do..Don’t get stung with out  !!

 

Article and photos courtesy of Natalie Gibb, About.com Guide

Most fire coral frequently has white tips…

Fire coral grows in familiar coral shapes. Divers have reported seeing fire coral in blade, branching, box, and even encrusting forms. As fire coral is easily confused with other corals, color is a good way to identify it. Most fire coral is a brownish-orange or brownish-green. It frequently has white tips, like the fire coral in this photo.

But if you do have an encounter with stinging fire coral, use our Ocean Care Fire Coral First Aid Kit…everything you need is in the bag..air tight, convenient to use and effective !! Don’t going diving without it !!

www.oceancaresolutions.com

photo and txt courtesy of About.com

Fire Coral..beautiful but dangerous..

Don’t learn about fire coral the hard way. Fire coral is related to jellyfish and anemones, and just like these creatures, it can really, really, sting. This Fire coral, Millepora sp., is beautiful, but dangerous.


Learn to identify fire coral and then be sure to avoid it! Divers should be on the look out for fire coral in tropical and subtropical seas. But if you do have an encounter with stinging fire coral, use our Ocean Care Fire Coral First Aid Kit…everything you need is in the bag..air tight, convenient to use and effective !! Don’t going diving without it !!

www.oceancaresolutions.com

photo and txt courtesy of About.com