The moon jellyfish, which may be found worldwide in temperate coastal waters, is often seen in the Florida Keys. They have no circulatory, respiratory, or excretory systems and are composed mostly of water. They do, however, have a basic nervous system that is linked to a nerve net that can react to stimuli and produces the characteristic “pulsing” movement of jellyfish. Sunfish (Mola mola), sea turtles, and even other jellyfish like the hydromedusa are known jellyfish predators. While there are predators, jellyfish are prospering, and their increasing numbers are not seriously threatened. Continue to read and we will help you understand when is Jellyfish season in Florida Keys all about.
When is jellyfish season in Florida Keys?
The majority of Moon Jellyfish start to emerge every year during the final week of August and remain present until the last week of April. The peak season for Pink-Meanies and Atlantic Man-O-War is from November through the first week of April.
Strong bioindicators of the health and decline of our oceans, jellyfish are masters of adaptability and thrive in low oxygen situations. They depend on the ocean currents for propulsion since they are really poor swimmers. Their basic swimming ability merely keeps them near the surface and facilitates eating.
Being carnivorous, moon jellyfish mostly consume zooplankton and larvae creatures. Nematocysts, which are stinging cells on their tentacles, are utilized to sting and hold their prey before bringing it up to their gastrovascular cavity to be digested. Recreational swimmers often get jellyfish stings as a result of just brushing against the critters’ tentacles without noticing their presence. Although jellyfish stings may be uncomfortable, they often do not need immediate medical attention.
Jellyfish you can find in Florida Keys
One marine animal in the Florida Keys that may threaten you but that you would not immediately think of is the jellyfish. These gelatinous critters may sneakily spoil a day at the beach, with many having orb-like bell bodies and stinging tentacles. The paradox is that despite being intriguing and peculiarly attractive, you should avoid them if you see them in the water. To learn more about jellyfish in Key West and the Florida Keys, continue reading.
The Most Popular Jellyfish Types
Moon jellies are most often seen near the beach and offshore at the coral reef at Key West. The bell of this variety of jellyfish is translucent white and saucer-shaped, and it has a transparent disk in the middle that is blue-gray and through which the horseshoe-shaped gonads can be seen. The bell borders are hung with short, fine tentacles that resemble fringe. They may reduce in size to a tenth of their previous size when food is scarce in order to save energy; when food is abundant, they grow back to their usual size. Even though they’re not toxic, you’ll know if you come into contact with one since they induce a strong, unpleasant stinging feeling. Although moon jellies are present in the waters around Key West all year round, late spring and summer are when they are most prevalent.
Are jellyfish poisonous?
You want to steer clear of the Portuguese man-o-war. These nasty little buggers are poisonous, and their stings may be fatal in certain rare circumstances. Man-o-wars resemble plastic bags as they float on the ocean’s surface and have bells that are transparent and fashioned like sails. Their up to six-foot-long, deep blue and purple tentacles dangle beneath them. The good news is that they are simple to see on the surface and steer clear of if you are vigilant. The unfortunate thing is that those tentacles might ambush you when you least expect it. It’s best to avoid the area if man-o-wars are known to be there. They are quite repulsive animals to encounter. Thankfully, we only see them in Key West at certain winter tides.
The comb jelly is unlike other jellies in appearance since it lacks a bell and tentacles. Instead, it has a wart-like body that is transparent and shaped like a walnut. It is sometimes referred to as a sea walnut for this reason. Despite being transparent, comb jellies reflect light, giving the impression that a rainbow of colors is flowing down their bodies along the path of internal moving cilia. They have the ability to produce light on their own (bioluminescence), flashing when disturbed.
The upside-down jelly, which appears like a flower on the seabed, is unlike other types of jelly. The bell has a flat, saucer-like form. Though color might vary, it commonly ranges from green to gray-blue. It contains four sets of orally branching, but separate, complicated pairings. This jelly spends its whole existence pulsating upside-down in shallow, sunny water as opposed to swimming.
A significant number of the largely harmless cannonball jelly species sometimes wash ashore on beaches. It has a half-egg form, may grow up to 7 inches in diameter, and has a brown border with either a blue or yellowish tint. It can swim well.
Why do sea lice exist?
Sea lice are tiny larvae of jellyfish and other forms of stinging animals in the water, which are related to jellyfish. There are many different kinds, and it is painfully difficult to perceive any of them with the unaided eye. Try to steer clear of this when swimming in Key West since they often settle on seaweed that is floating in the water. When you have sea lice, you often just have a brief mild itch or burning feeling that disappears as soon as you see it. Rarely, the sting of sea lice is delayed, and it may be very severe and painful for days.