Sunday, April 15, 2012

How’s This Jelly For Your Sandwich!

While snorkeling north of Pigeon Island, St. Lucia, we encountered a ctenophore (related to jellyfish) floating by. This was, by far, the largest one I’ve ever seen up close, not quite as large as my fist (Anne’s fist, not Chris’, which is considerably larger). Looking online, I determined that it most closely resembles the picture of Ocyropsis maculata, as shown in what appears to be a pdf file of a textbook chapter on ctenophores (Plate 75B at If you look close at the picture on the left, you can see the luminescent cilia, kind of like little hairs, along the ctenophore’s top left edge. The cilia run in lines from the top to the bottom of the lobes and beat in waves, propelling the ctenophore through the water. The pink spots inside might be gonad. In the picture on the right, you can see much better the separation of the two lobes. We see lots of ctenophores (usually much smaller) when we snorkel, and also when we’re sailing at night, because when they’re disturbed, they let off a blast of blue light, which looks really fantastic in the dark water.

NOTE: I couldn’t find anywhere the ctenophores are actually eaten by people, though dried jellyfish are a delicacy in some Asian countries. No thanks.


  1. We saw a lot of these in Deshaies. I couldn't find out if they were stingers or not, so we just stayed out of the water. They were pretty big, some were melon sized, I think they were looking at me.

  2. Hi Anne and Chris,

    Linda and I are catching up with you while we wait for my laundry to be done. Had a great Easter all together, great eggs and so forth. Love you both so much - Mom

    Lots of mention of alcohol, no wonder you guys come back on shore so infrequently. Trying to prove that adage...three sheets to the wind?!
    - Linda