College instructor spots ‘unusual jelly’ on Vancouver Island beach

Creatures found drifting around in the shallows, far away from their element

It’s not often Laura Verhegge gets stumped by a mysterious sea creature.

Yet on a beach outside of Victoria over the weekend, the biology and marine sciences instructor at Pearson College encountered some unusual jellies – around four of them – that had her scratching her head.

Verhegge was taking a stroll through the waters of Weir’s Beach in Metchosin, by the shoreline she’d gotten to know over 18 years, when she made her vexing find. She decided to post the pictures to Twitter for help.

ALSO READ: 10-foot-long shark washes ashore in North Saanich

The images show the jellyfish’s spherical shape and some internal structures, minus the tentacles. “Gorgeous. Looks like a perfect paperweight (if made in glass),” one person replied.

Louise Page, an associate professor who teaches invertebrate biology at the University of Victoria, thinks she may have the answer. The tip off may be the bits of orange seen inside the creature. “My best guess is that it’s a baby lion’s mane jellyfish,” she said.

Also referred to as Cyanea capillata, the creatures can get up to a meter wide across the bell and have tentacles that stretch out eight meters. It would take these babies just a year or two to reach that size, she said.

ALSO READ: 70 babies found inside North Saanich Shark

“People are probably familiar with seeing much larger specimens washed up on the beach,” Page added. The jellyfish population is increasing, particularly the lion’s mane, leading to a lot more of them being spotted washing up over the last few years, she said.

While the jellyfish look different from a lion’s mane to her, Page’s guess seems to make sense, Verhegge said.

“We see them around in the fall. I mean, it’s possible – it is possible. I would trust her.”

ALSO READ: Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

The creatures were swimming – or rather, drifting around – in the shallows when Verhegge found them, far and away from their element. “It’s not great for jellies to be in the swash zone; they’re happier out in the open ocean,” she noted.

Yet Weir’s Beach is a place where all kinds of “bizarre” things wash up, she added. The juveniles likely had been washed in by the current.“I think it was kind of bad luck for the individuals. Yeah, because they won’t survive.”

Unfortunately, she said the creatures would likely dry out during low tide.

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

Moose tests positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northwest Montana

This is the first time the disease has been detected in the species in Montana

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Police seize drugs, weapons and cash from Christina Lake residence

One man was arrested when RCMP executed a search warrant on Nov. 14

Kootenay Patricks assemble to take on Montreal Canadiens alumni

The charity game takes place Jan. 23 in Nelson

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read