Another Monochromatic Gelatinous Post

( So, I’m having trouble coming up with titles … )

This is the third entry (perhaps the last, for now) in a series of sea jelly photographs I’m exploring in black and white. I started looking at their forms for some drawings and found them interesting presented in monochrome.

All of the sea jellies pictured here are Ctenophores (comb jellies). Ctenophores are classified differently from ‘true’ jellies because of their combs – rows of hair-like cilia that are used for swimming and also catching/consuming food (The actual cilia are not really observable in these photographs).

The images above are studies of just one comb jelly – perhaps Mnemiopsis leidyias or Bolinopsis infundibulum (they are difficult to tell apart). When this jelly was not moving it became rather formless-looking and alien-like, especially under these particular lighting circumstances. With different lighting (and in colour!) you may be able to see that this jelly is bio-luminescent.


The second gallery of images  (with the exception of the last two) are a series of Pleurobrachia (Sea Gooseberries). You can see how they may have picked up the nickname of sea gooseberries.

The two tiny comb jellies at the end are Beroe Ctenophores. The beroe ctenophores have no tentacles and capture food through opening and closing their mouths.


[These photographs of Atlantic sea jellies were made in Cape Breton in the spring of 2012]

Moon-Jellies_UnderdrawingTo add a bit of colour – quick sketches of moon jellies on board (an ‘under-drawing’ before a layer of Mylar is applied).

© Karen McRae, 2013

More Sketches from the Sea

(Sketched by a camera.) The gallery of images above are a series of macro photographs of a small juvenile Moon jelly from the genus Aurelia. As I mentioned in the previous post I am revisiting some older sea jelly images and shifting them to black and white because I like how the details and forms are emphasized without the distraction of colour.
(Click on the images to enlarge)

The series of images below are possibly young and very small Pelagia noctiluca jellyfish (mauve stingers). You may notice a little amphipod ‘riding’ on one of them! Apparently many amphipods  have symbiotic or parasitic relationships with  gelatinous animals such as jellyfish. I’m not sure what’s going on here – perhaps public transportation – but if you take a look at this not very good video I have posted here you’ll get more of an idea.

[These photographs of Atlantic sea jellies were made in Cape Breton in the spring of 2012]

© Karen McRae, 2013

Whispers from the Sea: Aglantha

I have many photographs of tiny sea jellies that I’ve been meaning to post. Simple studies of their beautiful forms and details. I find converting them to black and white  emphasizes these details nicely and I like the way they almost look like drawings here. (Some of them are indeed working their way into drawings.)

This first set is Hydromedusae Aglantha. The jellyfish pictured here is only about 1cm long. If you look closely you will notice the tentacles are mostly contracted into tight spirals in these images. I have previously posted images in colour here, but for some really beautiful photographs of Aglantha (with extended tentacles) go to Alexander Semenov’s flicker page. And if you have a bit of time to get lost in the sea, visit his incredible website.

[These photographs were made in Cape Breton in the spring of 2012]

© Karen McRae, 2013

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