Fried egg jelly (South Sound marine life)

May 28, 2007 

Fried egg jelly (Phacellophora camtschatica)

This animal is one of the largest jellies in the Northwest. By the way, while commonly called jellyfish, these animals are not related to fish. The fried egg jelly has 16 indistinct lobes and grows up to 2 feet. The fried egg jelly is commonly seen in late spring and early summer, ranging along the Pacific coast from Chile to Japan.

The colored portion of the body under the transparent swimming bell consists of the gonads, stomach and oral arms surrounding the mouth. Reproduction is complicated, involving egg and sperm production by the swimming adult or medusa resulting in a larva that seeks a sheltered home. After attachment, it grows for a while, forming a polyp that then buds off small medusa.

The tentacles, which hang down 10 to 20 feet, contain stinging cells (nematocysts). They use the stinging cells to capture prey such as other medusa. While the fried egg jelly’s sting is described as mild, experts recommend that you:

Remove tentacles by lifting off rather than scraping.

Rinse affected area with seawater, not freshwater.

Deactivate remaining nematocysts by rinsing with a dilute acid such as vinegar or, in an emergency, human urine.

If nematocysts remain, remove by covering with wet baking power or flour and scraping off with a dull knife.

Finally, treat pain with topical anesthetics and see a doctor.

David Jamison is a Boston Harbor resident and marine biologist

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