Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas

Introduction

Texas is the second-largest state by both area and population in the United States and is located in the south of the U.S. It shares a border with the Gulf of Mexico on the southeastern side. The Gulf of Mexico is a part of the Atlantic Ocean and is a large body of water with a narrow. It is the habitat of a great variety of marine life including whales, dolphins, jellyfish, shellfish, corals, and coastal dwelling manatees. It is also known for its beautiful beaches that attract tourists who enjoy the scenes of marine and wildlife on these beaches. Some common jellyfish that are common on these beaches are the Atlantic sea nettle, Moon jellyfish, Pink meanie, cannonball jellyfish, Drymonema Larsoni, and comb jellies.

Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas
Photo by Philipp Deus

Atlantic sea nettle

Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas
Atlantic Sea Nettle

The Atlantic sea nettle belongs to the phylum Cnidaria and the family Pelagiidae. Its scientific name is Chrysaora quinquecirrha. The Pacific sea nettle is larger than the Atlantic sea nettle. It has many colors, but pale, pinkish, or yellowish colors are more common. It has a good defense mechanism due to the presence of thousands of microscopic cnidocytes in each tentacle. This defense mechanism reduces the number of natural predators.

The sea nettle is carnivorous, radially symmetrical, and marine. It has a mouth in the center of one end of its body, which opens into a gastrovascular chamber for digestion. It possesses tentacles that surround the mouth to catch food. There is no organ for execration and respiration in sea nettle. Each sea nettle is in one of two stages; free-swimming or polyp. The first one reproduces sexually and the second reproduces asexually. It is a bell-shaped invertebrate with little white spots and reddish-brown stripes that is normally semitransparent. The bell of the sea nettle without stripes is white or opaque. Its sting is graded from moderate to severe and is dangerous to smaller prey. It only causes an allergic reaction in humans and is not able to cause death. The sting is not particularly dangerous but can cause mild to the moderate disturbance in affected individuals. By sprinkling vinegar over the injured area, the sting can be successfully mitigated. This prevents unfired nematocytes from causing more disturbance.

Pacific sea nettle

Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas
Pacific Sea Nettle

Sea nettle can be highly colorful, even if they are occasionally semi-transparent and opaque. The bell has a diameter of 6 to 8 inches, and the tentacles reach down several feet. These tentacles have a potent paralyzing sting that is utilized for both hunting and protection. Sea nettles will eat slightly larger prey such as minnows, worms, and other jellyfish in addition to minuscule plankton and zooplankton that most jellyfish ingest, which account for potent venom. The delicate tentacles of jellyfish can not afford to be thrashed around by frenzied prey. They would just tear, so the paralyzing toxins have to be 100 percent effective very instantly. Sea nettles will also employ this venom to defend themselves against predators, killing the smaller ones and paralyzing the larger ones for long enough to escape.

Drymonema Larsoni

Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas
Drymonema Larsoni

It belongs to the class Scyphozoans and phylum Cnidaria. It is a monstrous jellyfish. It is also called pink meanie. Drymonema Larson is a species that produces massive, deadly blooms in the Gulf of Mexico’s northern region. The moniker pink meanie comes from the predation and eating behaviors of this species. It can become as large as a hippo, with deadly tentacles reaching 100 feet in length. It’s a voracious eater, consuming up to 30 moon jellyfish at a time. It feeds on other jellies like moon jelly. It has no digestive tract so ingested materials and excreted waste come out from the same opening. It uses its translucent tentacles for catching and feeding. It reproduces both sexually and asexually. Medusa reproduces sexually and its reproduction is external. Both male and female release their sperm and egg into the water and they fuse externally. After fusion free-swimming planula larva forms and attaches to the hard surfaces. After attachment, it starts metamorphosis and becomes a polyp. This poly reproduces asexually by budding and producing ephyrae which grow up into a medusa to start the life cycle process over again. It has both tentacles and a bell that are covered in stinging cells. Depending on the size of stinging cells, the sensation may be smaller or larger. Stinging episodes are common and uncomfortable, and the symptoms can last for a longer time after the encounter, but they are rarely harmful to humans.

Drymonema dalmatinum

Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas
Drymonema dalmatinum

It belongs to class scyphozoan and phylum cnidaria. It is also known as stinging cauliflower. It is found in the Atlantic Ocean’s central region and along the Mediterranean Sea’s coast. The stinging cauliflower has a pale pink to golden brown tint with many tentacles and long, thin oral arms. Drymonema dalmatinum, like the pink meanie, feeds on moon jellyfish such as Aurelia species. Its morphology is defined by;

  • The bell margin is growing allometrically.
  • Tentacles in a ring form.
  • The loss of stomach filaments as an organism develops and evolves.

The reproduction of this genus is similar to that of all other Scyphozoans. These creatures can reproduce in both sexual and asexual ways. Sexual reproduction occurs in medusas and asexual reproduction occurs in the polyp. Sexual reproduction is external, with females releasing eggs and males releasing sperms into the water, which afterward fuse. This fusion generates a free-swimming planula larva that settles to the bottom or attaches to hard surfaces. This larva transforms into a polyp after its connection with the hard surface. This polyp reproduces asexually, most usually through budding, and produces ephyrae that mature into medusas, restarting the life cycle.

Comb Jellies

Comb jellies live in seawater throughout the world. These jellies belong to the phylum of marine invertebrates. Their scientific name is Ctenophora. They have groups of cilia, they use for swimming, and they are the largest animals to swim with the help of cilia. Comb jellies can eat anything because they are carnivorous. Mostly they feed on small organisms that drift along in the water, but larger species can eat fish, crustaceans, and even other comb jellies and jellyfish. Ctenophores, often known as comb jellies, are pelagic marine carnivorous that are transparent and delicate. They feature three layers, biradial symmetry, and an oral-aboral axis of symmetry. There are two cell layers and a thick cellular mesoglea. When water temperatures warm to 66-73 degrees then breeding occurs. This water temperature mostly warms to this degree at night. Both male and female reproductive organs are present in comb jellies and they can fertilize themselves. Each comb jelly discharges about eight thousand eggs per spawn. They can regenerate both their body parts and brains. These jellies do not sting but their tentacles have adhesive cells that discharge mucus-like materials to hold prey. These cells are called colloblasts. They are not dangerous to humans, but they wreak havoc on the environment. The reason is that they have no predators.

Top five most dangerous jellyfish in Texas
Comb Jellies

Conclusion

Like other states in the U.S, Texas beaches have their value. Its marine animals are known all over the world. Atlantic sea nettle is considered the most common jellyfish in Texas. These jellyfish stings are not much dangerous and cause mild pain. Most of the jellyfish are carnivores and feed on tiny creatures of oceans. Be careful while visiting the Texas coastline and swimming on its beaches. You should keep sea sunscreen and jellyfish lotion with you.

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