Blue flotsam & blue jellyfish at Rhossili

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Flotsam blue rubber glove: An inflated blue rubber glove bobbing ashore on the incoming tide at Rhossil Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK (1)

From a distance, from a very long way off, it might have been possible to mistake this piece of unusual flotsam for one of the many blue jellyfish that drift ashore at Rhossil Bay in Gower. Actually, just an inflated blue rubber glove – don’t ask me what it was doing there. Some of the things you find as flotsam on British beaches are intriguing.

Barrel-mouthed jellyfish: The blue dome of the Dustbin-lid Jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus (Linnaeus),  stranded at Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales. UK (2) 

This picture shows what the real blue jellyfish looks like. You can see why someone might have thought the glove was one. Only this animal is very much bigger than the flotsam. The diameter of the dome can measure upto 90 cm across. This is the Dustbin-lid Jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus (Linnaeus), also apparently called a Barrel or Root-mouthed Jellyfish.

The blue dome of the Dustbin-lid Jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus (Linnaeus),  stranded at Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales. UK (3)

The colour of these jellyfish is variable. You can compare this specimen from Rhossili – with the top of the blue dome being uppermost and the oral arms just protruding from the dome or bell – with the specimen featured earlier in Monster jellyfish stranded on Whiteford Sands which was stretched out with the underside (sub-umbrella or oral surface) and oral arms entirely visible.  There’s also more information and pictures in the post Pink Dustbin-lid Jellyfish at Rhossili

The picture below shows one of a yet another colour variation drifting ashore in shallow water with the incoming tide at Rhossili. Unlike many jellyfish, this type does not have a ring of dangerous stinging tentacles around the outer edge of the large dome or umbrella. However, the upper surface of the umbrella (known as the ex-umbrella or aboral surface) is covered with groups of  tiny nematocysts or stinging cells that give a slightly matt appearance to the surface when it is out of water. 

A Dustbin-lid Jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus (Linnaeus), drifting ashore at Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK (4)

An inflated blue rubber glove washing ashore at Rhossil Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK (5)

Revision of a post first published 11 July 2009

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

5 Replies to “Blue flotsam & blue jellyfish at Rhossili”

  1. Not quite as blue as the glove, but still bluer than anything I’ve ever seen come out of the ocean. Imagine coming across one that is 90cm wide!

    Do you scuba dive Jessica? I was certified years ago, but would probably need a refresher course. My husband and all three sons are divers. They see so many amazing things underwater that look so different once they reach the shore.

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  2. It is surprising how the colour of these jellyfish varies so much. The one illustrated in the post really was that blue, and big as well. I also photographed it (but didn’t post) with my shoe in the picture to give a sense of scale – the diameter was clearly at least four times the length of my sandal.
    Regretfully, I cannot dive. I am too afraid. You are fortunate to have undergone the training. It must be wonderful to see these creatures in action in their natural environment. Have you ever thought about taking up diving again?

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  3. Wow that is very large!

    Fear (and the incredibly high cost for all the gear) prevents me from getting into it again. Now I just stay at home and worry about the others! My oldest and youngest sons were on a wreck dive this morning. It’s always such a relief when they call to say they’re out of the water and ok.

    Diving here is a very chilling experience so dry suits are required year round. My husband did a lot of diving in the Caribbean and my middle son did quite a bit on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and it spoiled both of them for diving in these colder waters.

    I’m quite content to find whatever I can on the beach 🙂

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  4. I am full of admiration for people who dive. A lot of diving goes on along the Dorset coast. One area that is particularly popular is Kimmeridge Bay which is also home to the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve http://www.dorsetwildlife.co.uk/purbeck_marine_wildlife_reserve.html. They have laid out an underwater nature trail called the Cuttlefish Trail to make it easy for amateur divers to see the marine organisms.
    We also have locally in Studland Bay a new colony of two rare species of seahorses. These are under threat from human activities. Divers are tagging and monitoring the population of seahorses at the moment.
    So there are many wonderful opportunities to study at first hand the precious and beautiful underwater wildlife along our World Heritage Jurassic Coast. However, like yourself, I have to content myself with studying and admiring what I see on the seashore.

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  5. I checked out the link and never would have thought you’d have so many activities surrounding marine wildlife in your area. The snorkeling trail sounds really neat too. There’s nothing like that around here – at least that I know of. Maybe there should be.

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