Total Pageviews

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ctenophores and Kite Flying

Ctenophores more commonly known as 'Sea Gooseberry' (Pleurobrachia pileus) were in abundance on the beach at Cherry Hill yesterday.  Ctenophora is an old phylum of invertebrate organisms and fossils have been found that are over 525 million years old.  They are not jellyfish and do not sting.  Voracious predators in the ocean environment they can eat 10 times their weight daily on a diet of all life stages of tiny crustaceans such as the beautiful shrimp-like Calanus finmarchinus which is abundant in our Atlantic ocean.  Many Ctenophores, including Pleurobrachia pileus exhibit bioluminescence at night in the water when disturbed.

Calanus finmarchinus   From:

Sea Gooseberries - Pleurobrachia pileus


  1. Sea Gooseberries. A new creature for me . One that I have not seen before. Are they a common sight on your shoreline. Is their appearance weather dependant. We are on opposite shores of the same ocean so maybe I might see one some day. Nice post. I enjoy reading your blog with the views from your side of the pond.
    Tony Lawlor.

  2. There are several different genera of ctenophores and the species featured in this post has a huge geographic distribution in the north Atlantic. I know the species is in Norway as I stumbled on an article while researching for this post. Their range certainly extends far north of our latitude. About 1990 while doing work in Labrador I witnessed a 'bloom' of them along the shores unlike anything I have seen here in Nova Scotia, the waters of the near inshore inundated with huge numbers. My understanding is that this (late winter) is the time of year to see them, but I have little first hand experience to validate that claim. Thanks for stopping by Tony, for kind words and all good wishes to you on the Emerald Isle!

  3. Mark, how cool! I loved the YouTube clip - it was pure magic. And kite was -30 Celsius here kites here for a while yet:)

  4. Wonderful video footage of them mark. Nature is a splendid thing. Great kite shots too!

  5. Thank you so much for this lesson. I see these globules on the beach and automatically assume they are jellyfish in one of their stages. Nowe I know I can pick them up too. Always thought they might sting.
    Great angles for the rainbow colours!