San Juan Stalked Jelly
Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington
Archival Pigment Print
This remarkable jellyfish doesn’t swim but lives attached by a short stalk to leaves of seaweed or grass. In one photo, the animal is secured to a blade of eelgrass whose edges are adorned with a delicate, red seaweed; in another, it’s attached directly to a seaweed. Eight arms radiate from a central mouth, each one bearing a terminal explosion of tentacles. Loaded with stinging cells, the pinhead tips of the tentacles capture small crustaceans on which the animal feeds. Scientists recognize about fifty stalked jelly species, and while the name of this common one has been in use since the 1920s, it has never been formally described (hence the quotation marks around the species name).