The Water Jellyfish of the Pacific Northwest
The water jellyfish is very abundant on BC coast and can also be found from Alaska to California. They are also known as the Aequorea Victoria Jellyfish.
They can reach up to 12.5 cm across the bell and about 4 cm high. The thick and gelatinous bell has numerous white radial canals running lengthwise across the top, they are luminous at night and may have more than 1 species that look the same.
They are wonderful to watch as they swim about the surface, sometimes in the hundreds, looking like little alien creatures, l find them just fascinating to observe.
These little guys are members of the phylum Cnidaria, which includes such creatures as sea anemones, sea whips, and corals. Like all members of the order, their body parts radiate from a central axis. This allows jellyfish to detect and respond to danger or find food from any direction.
Jellyfish can sting and you should be careful around them, my wife as a child was always playing with them on her dads seine boat, then she would touch her eyes and suffer the rest of the day. So please be careful and wash up after touching one. These Jellyfish can sting humans but they don’t cause any real pain. In fact, many individuals don’t even realize that they have been stung by one when they are in the water. It isn’t until they get to shore and see the redness on their body or have an itchiness that they realize they have been stung. Antihistamines can usually take care of any swelling and itching.
The Western coast of North America is where you will find these Jellyfish. They are frequently found swimming around the shoreline. However, they can also be further out due to the wind and the water current. These Jellyfish have more control over their locomotion in the water than many other species of jellyfish. You can see them swimming along when you visit the docks along our coast, sometimes in the hundreds.