As I was walking along the gulf’s edge looking somewhat like this beachcomber… minding my own business looking for shells like this…
I was enjoying all of the sites around me like this BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON…
Then I decided to take a little dip in the water to change the view and look for other interesting treasures in the gulf.
AAACCCKKKK! I got stung! Ouch! Something just brushed up on my ankle and stung me! Geez! All I see is a piece of SEAWEED. I got stung by something that looks like SEAWEED floating in the Gulf Of Mexico? So I picked it up to see what it was. Hmmmm… it didn’t burn me this time.
I put it on the sand to take this next photo… then I saw it move. It’s alive! The “seaweed” is still alive! Maybe it’s not a plant after all. Clark reminded me that he’s been stung by this same thing before but I never got a good picture of it.
So this time, I had to do some research to find out what the heck this thing is since I did get a good picture of it this time. I thumbed through all of my books and found what I think this thing that stung me was a HYDROID
. This is part of the reproductive cycle of a JELLYFISH! OMG This is so cool! Hydroids are colonies of tiny stinging jellies
, best described as hundreds of inverted JELLYFISH
attached to a feather- or seaweed-like base. This, my friends, is what stung me. This is what I believe is a POLYPOID which will invert at some time and turn into a JELLYFISH. It’s a JELLYFISH in its pupal stage. It’s this long tube looking thing with tentacles on the end in this next picture.
Yall remember I’m not a scientist. So what I read from the book “Reef Creatures” by Humann and DeLoach is “Hydroids are usually colonial, and have a branched skeleton that generally grows in patterns resembling feathers or ferns. Individual polyps are attached to this structure“. So it looks to me like this whole structure is the HYDROID and there is my little mean POLYP (attached) that stung me even before he grows into big goopy JELLYFISH. I’m just learning this as I go so I’ve added links (wherever you see bolded/highlighted words) to the sites I’ve researched as well. I just think this is so awesome to know what to look for if this happens again so I thought you would enjoy knowing all of this too.
My sting (which felt like a burn and seemed worse in the beginning because it startled me) only lasted for about 30 minutes and the rash went away soon after but it made me VERY curious. And guess what… I got a video of this POLYP (or POLYPOID) moving its tentacles. Ready? don’t worry, it won’t sting you too. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5p4Q2CdOps[/youtube]
Even if you get stung by a POLYP on a HYDROID one day… it goes away quickly and I really wouldn’t even call it “hurting”, it just caused some discomfort. No biggie. It was well worth it to learn all of this cool stuff!
The weekend started off a little slow for finding shells since the wind was coming in from the east. On Friday evening, we checked out the lighthouse beach and the first thing I saw was a SEA HARE (or also called a NUDIBRANCH) washed up on the beach caught in a line of sea grass. So I picked he/she (literally because they are hermaphrodites) up since I thought it was still alive to put it back in the water and held it for a few minutes submerged. It started to move its wings so I released and it swam away. Yippee!
I met a family on the beach…. they asked me “Where should we go to find some shells?”. They didn’t know what they were in for, did they? LOL They had no idea that Clark and I could talk for hours about shells. heehee
We had a nice time talking to Venkataratnam and Hansaveni from New Jersey along with her parents Pavani and Anupam who were visiting Sanibel for the first time …. from India! The shelling wasn’t fantastic since it was high tide and those darn east winds but we were happy to help them find a few WENTLTRAPS, a nice NUTMEG, SHARK’S EYE, 2 TURBANS, a LIMPET and a few more goodies.
I saw a bird on the beach that I normally don’t see so I sent my friend Bonnie this photo and she said, “That is a Black-crowned Night-Heron. He is a large-headed heron that rarely extends it’s neck. You usually see them at the water’s edge crouched down waiting quietly for a fish to go by. You got his picture with his neck extended so he was probably very aware of you or about to fly off.”
The winds changed a little from the west so shelling was much better at Blind Pass this weekend but I still haven’t gotten those photos into my computer so I will post again ASAP. In the mean time, the shelling should be really good on the sand bars at Blind Pass this afternoon at a negative low tide of -0.4 around 5:30 pm.
Only another day to enter into the drawing for some iLoveShelling gear! I am loooving all of your comments!