St. John Sea Creatures: Upsidedown Jellyfish (Cassiopea)

upsidedown jellyfishI saw quit a few of these strange jellyfish while snorkeling the southwestern side of Maho Bay. They were resting on the bottom in about ten feet of water. While most jelly fish swim around with their head up and tentacles down, the Cassiopea spends most of its time with its’ head down resting on the sea floor and with its tentacles extended upward, hence the name, upsidedown jellyfish.

The upsidedown jellyfish can give divers a mild sting, which can be very itchy. According to Wikipedia: “The stinging cells are excreted in a mucus; swimming over the jellyfish (especially using swim fins) may cause transparent, essentially invisible, sheets of this mucus to be lifted up into the water column, where they are then encountered by unsuspecting swimmers,” but being that these jellies were in fairly deep water, this shouldn’t be a problem for snorkelers observing them.

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Celtic Cross on the Annaberg Windmill

celtic ross-Annaberg Sugar MillFriends of the National Park guides showed me something that I had never noticed before, a Celtic cross on the top of the Annaberg Windmill. The most likely explanation for this would be that it was ordered by the owner of the estate, James Murphy, who had originally come from Ireland.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

New property valuations to appear on forthcoming bills

Tropical Wave Bringing Wet, Gusty Weather Thursday Night

Overflow Crowd Says No to St. John Marina Proposal

 

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St. John Marine Creatures: Feather Duster Worm


Feather Duster Worm (Sabellidae)

feather duster wormThis creature has always fascinated me. When I first saw one, I thought it was some sort of underwater flower, and I was certainly surprised to find out that it was not only an animal but a worm. What looks like the flower’s petals are tentacles, which filter plankton from the seawater for food and increase the amount of oxygen that the worm can absorb. When hungry fish or a snorkelers finger come too close the tentacles retract to the safety of the tube that gives the species the name, tube worm. If a fish is faster than the worm and bites off some tentacles, the worm will regrow the lost parts. The tube is fashioned from parchment, sand, and bits of shell that is permanently affixed to a rock, coral or some other substrate by a sticky mucus secreted by the worm.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

USVI athletes vs. the world

St. John Weather

Mainly sunny to start, then a few afternoon clouds. Hazy. High 81F. Winds E at 15 to 25 mph.

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Banded Coral Shrimp

banded coral shrimp
Banded Coral Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus)

barber pole shrimpTI photographed this banded coral shrimp along the eastern shoreline of Hawksnest Bay, heading out from Openheimer Beach.

Also known as barber pole shrimp, the banded coral shrimp are cleaning shrimp that eat the parasites off of passing fish, waving their antennae to attract any fish that want to be cleaned.

According to Paul Human’s Reef Creature Identification: “when approached, they retreat into protective recesses. If a bare hand is slowly extended toward the shrimp, it may leave its retreat and even attempt to clean fingers.”

I have to try this!

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Rampant credit card fraud in V.I. most likely cybercrime

Report: National Parks brought $73M into V.I. in 2013

organic eggs
$9.95/dozen

Organic eggs “discounted” at St. John Gourmet and Dolphin Markets

Hallelujah! The price of organic eggs has gone down from the previous $13.95/dozen to only $9.95/doz. It’s expensive to eat healthy on St. John.

 

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