Swarms of Jellies

As I stood out on the deck of the Oban-Mull ferry yesterday (going otter spotting) I couldn’t believe the numbers of moon jellyfish I saw. They were swarming in their thousands! On the 45 minute journey to Mull there was never a time that I couldn’t see these ghostly white blobs floating through the waves – especially in the shallower, warmer waters near the shore.

Although apparently humans don’t feel their sting much, I wouldn’t have fancied swimming in the water and suddenly realising I was surrounded by these.

swarm of moon jellyfish, Mull.

A swarm of moon jellyfish, Mull.

Amongst the moon jellies (AKA common jellyfish) were lions mane jellyfish. You just have to get a glimpse of these sinister looking creatures to know immediately to give them a wide berth! They make a swarm of moon jellies look positively welcoming.

The sinister looking tentacles of the lions mane jellyfish as it approached a swarm of moon jellies

The sinister looking tentacles of the lions mane jellyfish as it approached a swarm of moon jellies

This lions mane jellyfish was swept past me in the wake of the ferry.

This lions mane jellyfish was swept past me by the wake of the ferry.

I snapped away as much as I could from the top deck of the ferry. Only when I looked back at photographs did I realise why the lions mane jellyfish were there. They were feasting on the moon jellies.

With the movement of the moon jellyfish mainly at the mercy of the currents, and the tentacles of the lions mane apparently reaching 60m in length (yikes!), there’s not much of an escape from the largest jellyfish in the Atlantic.

A moon jelly had fallen prey to this lions mane jellyfish, seen in the tentacles on the left.

A moon jelly had fallen prey to this lions mane jellyfish, seen in the tentacles on the left.

It was a rare opportunity for me to see so many of these creatures from an almost aerial view point. The swarms are likely to stay while the warm weather (and plankton blooms) hold out for the summer, so hopefully I’ll see some more of these creatures over the next coming weeks (from a safe distance…)

Sara

See Sara’s website here: www.sarafrost.webs.com

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