« The Great Outdoors

Jellyfish on the beach

by Tom Mitchell

Most of my outdoor experience comes from things in the Midwest.  On our recent family trip to California we spent considerable time at Moonlight Beach in Encanitas, just north of San Diego.  Signs at the lifeguard towers warned us of "jellyfish" in the surf.  These weren't the deadly variety, but certainly could give one some pain if you came in contact with them.  My daughter Katie and I walked north along the beach away from the crowds looking for washed up Jellies.  In this photo you can see some along the barren beach.  I don't know much about these animals but I do know that Jellies are carnivorous, feeding on plankton, crustaceans, fish eggs, small fish and other jellyfish, ingesting and voiding through the same hole in the middle of the bell.  And most Jellyfish inhabit saltwater habitats like the oceans, but some varieties can live in freshwater.  Does that mean they'll be coming to the Mississippi or Missouri River's soon?