Sunday, 31 July 2016

Stranded at Sanna

Something about sea conditions in the last couple of days has brought a mass of floating beasties ashore on Sanna's lovely sands, and Rachael was there to see them. Her finds included this, the by-the-wind sailor, Velella velella, a relative of the Portuguese man-'o-war and, like it, a carnivorous cnidarian which lives by catching plankton using long, stinging tentacles.

It was low tide when Rachael was there, and most were floating just beyond the breakers with some washed up onto the sand yet, when we walked at Sanna on Wednesday, there wasn't a single one.

We've seen by-the-wind sailors before, but Rachael also found something quite new. This is the rather beautifully named bluefire jellyfish, Cyanea lamarckii, which is confined to waters off the west coast of Scotland and the North and Irish Seas. This specimen was just under a foot across, a little smaller than....

....its relative, the lion's mane jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, which was washed up nearby. We've seen these often enough - too often, and some have been far bigger - and have a healthy respect for them, particularly when we're swimming or out in the kayaks, as their sting can be extremely painful.

Also washed up along the strand line were these much gentler beasts, a group of goose barnacles clinging to what looks like a broad bean pod - but perhaps it's something a bit more exotic as the currents can bring flotsam here from as far away as the Caribbean.

Many thanks to Rachael for the pictures.


  1. Nice shots...nice light........just what we have grown used to.


    I read in a bbc news article that the marine conservation society are interested in reports of jellyfish sightings. Link posted above.

  3. Many thanks for both comments. WE'll go on the MCSUK site and fill in the appropriate section. Jon