Seen one of these on the shore? Don’t panic its ok! I received the following email yesterday from a Qualicum resident and had a minute to respond and thought it might be useful to share. btw while not dangerous they can sting – so don’t pretend they are stranded whales and try and get them back into the water!
Original Email: “I just wondered if you knew that a large number of orangy-brown jellyfish washed up on Qualicum Beach over the last few days. Yesterday, August 22nd, walking along the beach in the Judges Row area I counted 336 in a 1/3 mile area. I’d love to know why this happens sometimes and if it has anything to do with the high tides at the moment. Regards, Pauline”
Response: Hi Pauline,
Thanks for the inquiry and your curiosity. What you are seeing is a relatively common and seasonal occurrence in the Strait of Georgia of groundings/stranding of the Lions Mane Jellyfish Cyanea capitella. To see that many in a short distance is quite a bit and the wind and tide must have been working against their favour. They only have a one year lifespan and so this is very common in late summer. You can read all about them here on Wikipedia
Credit Creative Commons – Flickr User Travis S
I have seen them underwater with their stinging tentacles extending as much as 10 metres in all directions where they are simply stunning. I was surprised myself to see in the Wikipedia article that the bell or large body of the jellyfish can get as much as 8’ in diameter and the tentacles 30-40 metres. I have seen them over 3’ in diameter locally This is another good link from Discovery Channel
We have a sculpture about this species at the field station you can read about here: https://viudeepbay.com/2011/10/24/our-emily-turns-shoreline-debris-into-jellyfish-art/ and we eventually hope to have a jellyfish tank at the Field Station (although we’ll showcase much smaller species like the local moon jelly. https://viudeepbay.com/2011/01/25/future-spatial-use-graphics/
Cheers and keep exploring the beach.