Another Holmsian inspiration! I finally finished the complete Sherlock Holmes stories and this one caught my eye: The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane (click on the title for more info). The animal this time, is quite real.
The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish or Cyanea capillata is on record the largest jellyfish ever found. Its head was 2.3 meters in diameter and had tentacles 36.5 meters (120 ft) in length.
The sticky tentacles are grouped into eight clusters, with each cluster containing 65-150 tentacles, arranged in a series of rows. The bell is divided into eight lobes, giving it the appearance of an eight-pointed star. The thin tentacles emanate from the bell’s subumbrella. Size dictates coloration: larger specimens are a rich red or dark purple while smaller specimens have a more pale orange or tan coloration.
Its range is confined to the cold waters of the northern Pacific and Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Although most lion’s mane jellyfish (whose name was given as a result of their long tentalcles) can deliver a painful sting to swimmers, it is seldom deadly if treated and usually just results in temporary searing pain and red welts. Although they normally reside in the deeper waters of the ocean, they will enter shallows at the end of their lives. Lion’s mane jellyfish remain mostly very near the surface at no more than 20 m depth, moving via their slow pulsations and ocean currents. The jellyfish are most often spotted during the late summer and autumn, when they have grown to a large size and the currents begin to sweep them closer to shore.
They act as protectors and a food supply for many smaller marine animals like shrimp and sea horses. They themselves will eat plankton and smaller jellies, while they, in turn are hunted by sea birds, large fish, and sea turtles.
These jellyfish are capable of both sexual reproduction in the medusa stage and asexual reproduction in the polyp stage. For more on the contorted and confusing life cycle of the jellyfish (which I did not, in fact need to know for my Bio final (Thanks for making me waste all my time on that teacher whose name shall not be mentioned here)), go here: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/pub/seascience/jellyfi.html
P.S. You may also have noticed the new setup of my blogroll. I made the realization that reading other blogs was taking up all my time, so I segregated them. I will only regularly read my choice favorites. Now, if you did not make the cut, it was nothing personal and I will still check up on you from time to time. Sorry for any inconvenience, but it really was necessary for me.