Sea Jellies

Back to the Atlantic, and the tiny jellyfish off the Cape Breton coast. And I do mean tiny. The biggest one pictured here, being just over an inch big. To someone like myself, who lives far inland they do seem rather exotic and fascinating. They way they pulse and flow around in the water and the seemingly endless forms. I spent quite a bit of time observing them, and photographing them, using a macro lens. Scooping them into a white bucket and then returning them to the sea. Some, almost invisible, and no bigger than my smallest fingernail. Elegant creatures of grace.
It’s hard to imagine how such delicate soft-bodied creatures as jellyfish could end up on the fossil record but there are some examples. If, like me, you have an interest in fossils, you may want to check out this blog entry: Eternal Jellies in the World Ocean on Graham Young’s blog, Ancient Shore.

A young Pelagia (mauve stinger) jellyfish, just over an inch across.
You may have noticed there is a tiny crustacean (possibly an amphipod) hanging out the young Pelagia pictured above. Whatever it is, it had itself firmly attached.


Above:A small juvenile of the moon jelly, Aurelia

Above: Hydromedusae Aglantha
Below: A barely there Aglantha in disguise.

An adult Halitholus above and a juvenile below.

Comb jelly Pleurobrachia (Sea Gooseberry)
A comb jelly accompanied by a Tiaropsis on the right.
There were thousands of these tiny jellyfish near the shoreline. Tiaropsis, leptomedusan hydrozoanin.
*If any of these sea jellies appear to be identified incorrectly, please feel free to contact me.

It seems I’ve been away from the ocean for too long. There’s always the Pacific…
See you in a couple of weeks! :)

All images © Karen McRae, 2012

154 thoughts on “Sea Jellies

  1. Love these! Thanks so much for sharing. Your work is always so inspiring (on many levels) – do you have any details posted on your process, like what lenses you use etc. I’m just curious. For example are these creatures captured and shot in the studio or in situ? Thanks again!

  2. Stunningly beautiful pictures !
    As you are the expert to capture the image of something between
    exists and not exists or beyond exists = it is to say, they are
    the graphical demonstration of Karen’s photography. :-)
    Couldn’t believe to be exists, still there to be exists, even in
    fossils form.

  3. Superb images. You not only capture the physical characteristics of the jellyfish you enable us to sense their movement through the water. These are beautiful and evocative pictures.

  4. Wow, I live in UAE, Dubai, where you rarely see jelly fishes. Or is it me, just not a very big beach type of person as I usually prefer going to the pool. But the only type of jelly fish I have seen in real are those really big blob of jelly’s that don’t have tails. There are lots of them in spring time here. But beside that season, it doesn’t seem to be so plenty.

  5. Wow! Karen these images are just magnificent! I cannot choose one that I like the best because all of them are incredible – colour, texture, light, composition.
    Some of them look more abstract than the others, and this made them even more special (well to my eyes)

  6. I once encountered a large version of one of these while swimming – Caribbean. Fabulous photos. Underwater life forms have to be the most fascinating of all planetary forms. It’s no wonder they inspire science fiction and fantasy art. Ann

  7. I usually dislike Jellyfish very much and avoid swimming whenever these creatures invade the ocean waters, but the ones you’ve taken pictures of, look kind of cute:).

      1. Hello, Karen…I just saw your newest post in my email…will be visiting you soon…and very glad to hear/read that all is well. :)

  8. Those sea gooseberries are uber cute! I just read an article on how they propel themselves – they actually create a vortex that shoots them forward. Quite amazing really. Wonderful pictures. Thanks so much for posting them so that someone who’s nowhere near the ocean gets a chance to see them :) Though apparently someone swears there are jellyfish in a lake nearby. Haven’t had a chance to borrow a canoe yet to check it out but now I really want to.

    http://dyefeltsool.com/

  9. Am fascniated by sea jellies, and I have really enjoyed reading through this post and looking at the accompanying images. Thanks for sharing!

  10. So very very exquisite they are ~ fragile yet lethal, the beatitude of God’s creations.
    Jelly fishes have never failed to put me in awe, they dance in the currents like angels… no one word can describe how beautiful they are! You have wonderfully captured their ethereal essence!

  11. These are so delicate and diaphanous,its a wonder you can even spot them! Just brilliant! And congratulations on being freshly pressed again! You absolutely deserve it.

  12. I’m amazed at your ability to see them as creatures of grace, while I always think of sea jellies as purposeless and too random. Beautiful pictures, I love your perspective!

  13. This kind of aquatic life fascinates me! Being a busy dad with 5 kids and living in Denver, I never really get to experience this kind of aquatic life. I appreciate you sharing something so delicate.

  14. Beautiful jellyfishes! I once touched this creature when I was young while at the beach, my skin suddenly felt so itchy, it burns like hell. From then on, I had a phobia with jellyfishes. :D

    1. Hi Kara,
      I just came back from Vancouver and managed a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium, and of course there were jelly fish! :)
      Thanks for commenting – Do you do exhibition and graphic design?

  15. These are all so gorgeous. I’m so curious as to your technique, but whatever it is, the results are all the things everyone else has been saying :) I especially like the little waterbug with the big eyes getting his shot at fame.

  16. Really enjoying your jellyfish shots. I have a jellyfish biologist in the family and grew up collecting them for research and so on, so have a special affinity to these creatures.

  17. I keep returning to this one once a week. I feel like, sometime in the future, you’re going to be a well known photographer because of things like this.

  18. It’s easy to see how you can get lost peering at these wonderful creatures. And thank you for explaining how you took the photos – I was wondering! The “barely there” Aglantha is gorgeous and fascinating – and the tiniest ones – when you see the plant life they’re with, you know they’re tiny!

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