Friday, 11 April 2014

J is for Jellyfish, Jellies, Jewels and John Dory ...


Jellyfish ... the stingers found on our shores.  
Portuguese
Man-of-War


These creatures do not have brains or sophisticated sense organs such as eyes and ears.  They cannot move quickly ... their best form of defence and attack lies in the tiny stinging cells contained in their tentacles.



The stinging can remain active for a time even after the animal is washed ashore ... the best (worst) known is the Portuguese Man of War “jellyfish” – not a true jellyfish, but a colony of small animals from the same group.  It can render a swimmer unconscious – causing death by drowning ...



Red Dulse

Gel for Jellies and aspic is obtained from two red seaweeds – Carragheen and Dulse – both are harvested commercially.  Dulse can also be eaten raw, cooked as a vegetable, or added to a stew or soup.  (see my Mother of the Sea post last year).


Recently a jelly-like seaweed extract used as a lining for bandages for burns has been found to be very effective.




Devonshire Cup Coral - jewel
like creature ... 
J for Jewels ... anemones we know so well;



 – then there’s Sea-Glass, which LoverofWordsmentioned in her comment on my B for Beachcombing post ... so I had to look ...




Sea-glass
Sea-glass comes in two forms, which I really would not have realised ... “sea-glass” is physically and chemically weathered glass found along salt-water shorelines ... which produces natural frosted glass.


Whereas “beach-glass” is found from fresh water, and tends to be clearer.

John Dory - MacGillivray Illustrated
Fauna: William MacGillivray
(1796 - 1852)

J is for John Dory – probably the oddest-looking fish in our seas ... it has a deep body, big mouth, spiny outline and long fins: a predatory pirate of the sea ...



That is J for jiggling Jellyfish, as you jump and jiggle around ‘asking’ for the stings to go away!, J for Jellies that are set using red seaweeds, J for Jewels ... flower-like animals, or juggled sea-glass after it has been tossed and turned by the seas, and J for John Dory – a flat fish found around many coastal shores ... from Aspects of British Coasts ... 


Hilary Melton-Bucher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

47 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Another interesting post and I have never heard of sea glass, amazing what one learns when blogging.
Have a good day Diane

Deborah Barker said...

J already? Goodness, where have I been? Love the reference to anemones as jewels - just a perfect description. Sea glass - I suppose I always thought that was old bottles and shards worn smooth or something. Such ignorance! Thank you for enlightening me Hilary :-)

Damaria Senne said...

I'd never heard of seaglass either. Jellyfish I had, but in the context of "stay away from it!" As if I would find it in Phokeng, LOL!

Julekha Khatun said...

Seaglass was something new to me as well !....never heard about them !...And poor Jelly fish..I never knew they were without brain ,eyes & ears !....Very informative post Hilary :)!....happy a gr8 weekend ahead !

Denise Covey said...

Lots of interesting info. Hilary. Who'd want to be a jellyfish ?

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

Interesting facts about the Jellyfish. Makes me want to write a story on them.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh, we definitely have jellyfish here! I've been stung *numerous* times. Maybe 30-40? A lot. Ugh. They're pretty when I see them in an aquarium, though...just not in the ocean!

Julie Flanders said...

I'd never heard of sea glass before. How beautiful!

Manzanita said...

I put a handful of dulse in my every-day soup. I eat a lot of sea weed as our soil contains no iodine. The sea glass is a new one to me. It's amazing, all the beautiful objects that one finds in the sea. Keep your belly away from Jelly (fish). Ha

Fanny Barnes Thornton said...

Hi Hilary, I've just realized why I wasn't getting your comment form - it was coming up on my desktop behind your blog! I've diminished the blog to write this.
Wow! Your your blogs are so knowledgeable.
I grew up near a beach (West Cumbria) that was always full of jellyfish. It was a miracle that I was never stung.
I would like to try the Dulse. I have only ever seen black seaweed. I wonder if it's true that you can tell what the weather is going to be like by them? Possibly folklore.
I can believe the jelly substance would be good for burns.
Brilliant blog, as usual.

Inger said...

Jelly fish are so interesting to watch. We once had an invasion of them in the marina where we had our sailboat. I had heard of a John Dory, but never seen one before. And my blogger friends in Nova Scotia have tons of sea glass on their shores. So beautiful.

Jo said...

Carragheen is also eaten Hilary, I have a couple of recipes for it somewhere. Puddings I seem to remember.

Matt got stung by a PMofW many years ago, but I guess it only brushed him as he is still alive although not kicking so much these days. We used to pick jelly fish up on the beaches, they certainly didn't sting, they were just round flattish objects. On vacation in Greece there was a really bad one around which felt like a Chinese burn when it caught you.

Jo said...

Do you know the legend about the John Dory's spots? Don't remember it all but it was supposed to have been picked up by St. Peter by his thumb and finger hence leaving the spots.

Margie said...

Hi Hilary
The sea glass is so beautiful.
John Dory fish is an odd one!
(MacGillivray was my maiden name)

Great post!
Really enjoyed it!

Have a great weekend

David P. King said...

When I make a mistake, my excuse is "I ate a jellyfish." The reactions are hysterical. :)

Bish Denham said...

In the islands (Caribbean) we always called the glass beach-glass. The rarest and hardest color to find was red, because gold was used to color it,and so there wasn't as much of it.

That IS one strange looking fish!

Paula Kaye said...

Ah the memories I have of jelly fish....and not a one of them is a good memory!

Shirley Wells said...

Jelly fish - fascinating to watch, but that's about the only good thing to say about them. :)

Sea glass is so beautiful.

A great post as ever, Hilary. Very informative, and such wonderful pictures.

Have a great weekend!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Think I will avoid the jellyfish!

Silvia Villalobos said...

So much interesting information Hilary, thank you. The sea glass looks beautiful -- interesting how it's been shaped and colored by the water. And I didn't know about the oldest fish in the sea, although the name sounds familiar. Love your ending paragraph ... jiggling jellyfish, jiggling around ... made me smile. (Thanks for the info you left on my blog re: Sussex Gypsies. Will look into it).
Silvia
SilviaWrites

cleemckenzie said...

Whenever I go to the aquarium, it's the jellyfish that take up most of my time! The way they move and their colors fascinate me!

loverofwords said...

I have a little dish of sea glass. If I am ever near the sea shore, I will look again. I think you can buy sea glass on ebay, but I wonder if it is real or roughed up in a rock polisher?

janice | Sharing the Journey said...

Hi Hilary. I'm still having problems with leaving comments here. This is my third attempt, so forgive me if the others got through and are waiting to be moderated.

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy never knowing what I'm going to learn when I visit your blog!

I have a seaglass collection started back when I lived in Greece. I loved how the aqua, green and blue fragments were like little bits of sea.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Grew up on the westcoast and I still can't say as I like fish. I know it's good for you, but jellyfish? Dangerous. Another reason I like to swim under water so I can see if there are any. LOL. I'm a big baby, I know.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hilary,

Those man of wars are really nasty creatures. We had a really bad infestation when I was a kid along Long Island's shores... I'll never forget them.

What is cool about Jellies... I went to this AMAZING Jellies exhibit at Shed aquarium here in Chicago. They are amazingly beautiful and graceful creature when lit properly. It was amazing to see them this way.

Jen Forbes said...

I've never actually seen sea glass on an American beach,or at least not the beach I grew up on.

Funny however I just did a puzzle on vacation with my friends on vacation of sea glass.

I am familiar with jelly fish unfortunately, been stung many times. Hurts like the blazes!

~Sia McKye~ said...

I didn't realize that jelly-like seaweed is being used as lining for bandages for burn wounds, Hilary. Fascinating. I can see where it would be a help in the healing process.

Sea glass is another thing I didn't know. I've seen both and found some along saltwater beaches. Makes sense that it would be frosted due to the saltwater.

Thanks for the well wishes and cautioning to take care and heal. I'm working on it. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Theresa Milstein said...

Jelly fish are amazing as long as you're not getting stung by one! The New England Aquarium in Boston has a bunch of them. They're stunning.

Viola Fury said...

As a decades-long fisherman in these Florida waters, both fresh and salt, I can tell you, there are some odd, odd critters living in the depths, and not so deep. I caught a horseshoe crab once and that was pretty interesting; he moved with all the verve of an old boot! Once freed, and sent on his way, I cast my line again, only to catch a little manta-ray.

I wrapped a towel around his stinger, before removing the hook from his mouth, gently, gently. To my surprise, he had no teeth, just a soft mouth and a hard ridge. Once freed, he took off with a swish of his tail.

Then I caught something that was beyond description. Rocky and strange on the top, with crusty little eyes, he had two tiny fins on either side, and no discernible tail. His bottom was completely flat and pink. He had a mouthful of fearsome teeth. I used an implement to remove the hook and never touched him. He scared the life out of me; you just never know what you're going to find! Thanks, Hillary! Mary

mail4rosey said...

I have a terrible recollection of a 5-yr old picking a jellyfish up that had washed onto the beach. That same child is 26 now, but he still remembers that sting (as do I remember for him, aye!).

Sara said...

Oh, I'm so far behind, but this delightful. I love the way you are closing these. I read them out loud and it's so much fun, because the words almost dance their way out of my mouth with the the jiggles, jewels and jellies.

As usual, there is so much you teach me. I was fascinated to know about the jellies made from seaweed and how seaweed is being used to treat burns.

John Dory is a great name for a fish. Are you able to eat them? They don't look like you could.

On the other hand, it's kind of fun to imagine you at a pub looking over the menu. You step up to bar and say, "I think I'll have a John Dory for dinner and
a pint of best please, landlord"

Have a great weekend, Hilary:~)

Sue McPeak said...

An interesting collection of 'J' creatures and Jewels. Sea Glass is so fun to find along the shore lines and on the beach. Jellyfish, not so much. We have both on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico that washes up along the Texas coastline. Informative post...as always.
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

Patricia Stoltey said...

Love this post, Hilary. The j sound is fun. I've seen plenty of jelly fix on beaches in Florida over the years, but thank goodness I never stepped on one.

Trisha F said...

Yup, we call them Jellyfish over here. :) We in Australia have some of the nastiest ones on earth. Namely the box jellyfish.

We have them in the ocean and in our big river.

Maggie Winter said...

I miss fish like John Dory, Haddock, and the humble cod...the have cod in Brazil but highly salted, not what you want with a golden batter!
Loving the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

Amanda Trought said...

Hilary, lots of great J's, there are lots of jewels to be seen beneath the sea. I came across Sea-Glass in a movie with Diane Keaton who collected them along the beach. I think they look very pretty. Blessings for the weekend, enjoying your A-Z journey!

suesconsideredtrifles said...

Your jiggling jellyfish sent me back to my 2013 J. I had "Jellyfish jostle." Sue

Lisa said...

I've been stung a few times by jelly fish, and once by a very small, thank goodness, man of war. There are times when they wash up on the beaches of north Florida in masses and no one can go swimming...That John Dory fish looks grumpy! I didn't know that a gel for jellies and aspic came from a seaweed! Love knowing that, because the thought of eating horse hooves isn't very pleasant!

kaushikgovind said...

The sea-glass looks awesome! And as many have comments before, i've haven't heard of it before. Jellyfishes look cute, though they aren't that cute ;)

Michelle Wallace said...

The Devonshire Cup Coral is beautiful!
Sea glass/beach glass... really gorgeous... I wonder if they are used in jewellery or other crafts...?
We have a seafood restaurant chain named John Dorys.

Julia Hones said...

Very interesting post, Hilary.
I find jellyfish fascinating even though I've always been afraid of them when I swam in the sea...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - well I’d seen plenty of sea-glass, but hadn’t realised the difference between the sea type and the fresh type .. and yes we do learn don’t we ..

@ Debbie – well the A-Z rattles along ... great to see you though .. well I wouldn’t have known about the sea-glass except for Natalie of Lover of Words hadn’t let me know – the sea glass was glass though ..

@ Damaria – it is just weathered glass. You most definitely won’t find any jelly fish in Gauteng – I don’t think they can be found in the Vaal Dam ... seeing as it’s fresh water ..

@ Julekha – it really is just ancient rolled about bits of glass – they just look very pretty! You might be right about the poor jelly fish – I knew they just floated with the currents, but hadn’t thought about their brains, or eyes or ear s.. so ‘poor’ they be!

@ Denise – I see you cleverly picked a shortish post! – well I wouldn’t want to be a jelly fish .. I quite enjoy my brain!

@ Rachna – well I’m sure there’s a story to be told ... like how do I find my brain ...? Could be fun ...

@ Elizabeth – the jelly fish in the Gulf of Mexico are a danger – because of their huge, huge numbers ... they get sucked into machinery and it causes a major problem .. serious one too.

I was stung as a kid at my father’s mother’s house here along the coast .. and used to scream blue murder, especially when she applied witch-hazel to calm the stings ... it was very cruel to a child!!!

But having seen some tv programmes – they are stunningly beautiful and so well adapted to their space on this earth ..

@ Julie – just washed up glass really .. but it does look pretty doesn’t it ...

@ Manzanita – good for you to put dulse on your every-day soup ... makes perfect sense .. and I really must eat more sea-weed /kelp capsules or liquid .. I wouldn’t go near a coast with a jellyfish outbreak ... very unpleasant ..

@ Fanny – not sure how they work, but it should appear on top of the blog .. as it is now I’m typing .. who knows!?! Well many thanks .. but I just really use some common sense and some reference I must admit ...

At one stage I seem to recollect there were lots of jellyfish around our shores .. time-frame was probably the same ... I was stung and it was very unpleasant!

I must investigate Dulse and Seaweeds ... well it was certainly folklore –as I’ve heard that too .. and I guess if the seaweek above sea level is drying out then perhaps the weather is going to be dry .. our weather can be very moist, let alone raining ...

It was interesting about the burns ... I’ve known about it .. so felt I should include it ..

@ Inger – as I mentioned above to Elizabeth jelly fish are a major risk factor in the Gulf of Mexico .. and they drift in shoals – so not surprising your ‘invasion’ as such ...

Oddly enough I heard of a chef cooking John Dory for a tv programme we have here each Spring .. which when I get to watch I can enjoy ....

And I’m sure there is lots of seaglass up in Nova Scotia ...

@ Jo – I’m sure you can eat Carragheen it is a setting agent .. Matt was lucky ... when I was a kid on the Bexhill beach at my grandmother’s .. someone died from POMW - some jelly fish are harmless .. but if the stingers come ashore you don’t want to know!!

Re St Peter’s Spots .. yes I read about it .. but would have been too long to have put in the post .. so I rely on intelligent bloggers to let me and others know .. . John Dory was cooked by one of the Irish entrants to the Great British Menu last night!

@ Margie – is that MacGillivray a relative? Could well be .. and the sea glass is lovely to look at isn’t it, while the John Dory is odd .. but is good to eat ...

@ David – that is a great idea ... I think I might adopt it .. love the thought of it and as you says the reactions are hysterical – you said “what”???? .. thanks so much for putting this up!!


Thanks everyone .. part 2 coming up ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bish .. I’d love to visit the Caribbean one day .. and your note about the red sea glass was so rare – because it was coloured with gold .. is interesting to know about ...

The poor John Dory is a little strange isn’t he ..

@ Paula – yes I think I’d agree .. not a good memory .. nor are mine!!

@ Shirley – the tv programmes are fascinating .. but on the beach .. drying out to die .. and still available to stick .. is not a great thought ... on jelly fish! The sea glass is incredible isn’t it ..

@ Alex – I would avoid jellyfish if I were you .. good idea ..

@ Silvia – I think the sea glass is just polished and chemically altered during its tumbling in the waves ... The John Dory is I think probably quite a well known fish .. especially with its naming connotations ...

But am delighted you enjoyed my jiggle juggles for the J word ..

@ Lee – are they .. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any jelly fish in an Aquaria... but then I don’t go and visit aquaria .. certainly in recent years ... I’ll have to make a plan one day ... but having seen them on tv – I sort of know what you’re saying ..

@ Natalie – how lovely to have those pieces of sea-glass .. I’m sure you can buy it – but I’d be dubious buying it that way – so I’d rather collect it off the beach – though so much beachcombing has been done and the seas are bereft almost ...

@ Janice – just so good that you’re back occasionally on the blog and I did rescue one comment from ‘waiting for modernation’ as blogger does occasionally .. and I thank you for persevering ..

Oh yes – life is interesting around here .. makes if fun for me too!

Have you go a sea-glass collection from your days in Greece – such memories .. and yes those colours are so sea-lie aren’t they ...

@ Joylene – oh dear .. I love fish and I grew up inland! Jelly fish aren’t fun to find .. I agree ... but jelly fish come to the surface near the shore and I think they issue warnings – well they do here as they drift along in shoals ... I would want to avoid being stung too . so no big baby for you!!

@ Michael – I know I recollect from my youth someone being killed by a POMW ... and similarly to your Long Island experience ... really not very nice at all. I’ve seen tv programmes – which fascinated me .. as we followed various jellies around the ocean – with their lights and florescence .. as you say quite amazing .. and one day I’ll get back to a new modern aquarium to see them ...

@ Jen – water is an amazing wearer-out .. and the bits could be as sand now ... and now there’s a jig-saw puzzle on sea-glass = small world! Yup we know the effects of jellyfish stings ..

Part 3 coming up ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sia – so good to see you .. and I do hope you’re resting up and getting better slowly but surely?! Glad to hear you’re working on the healing bit!

It is so interesting what scientists and researchers are always testing out isn’t it .. then the sea glass differences .. it’s good to know about ..

@ Teresa – I agree jelly fish are just lovely if you’re not stung by one .. if I ever get back to Boston I’ll head on over to the New England Aquarium and have a look ....

@ Mary – wonderful that you’ve had the opportunity of experiencing these special creatures in your Florida waters .. and I love the three stories .. so pleased you let them swim free once again ..

@ Rosey – we were that range when we encountered jelly fish for the one ‘bad’ time – as shoals came up the English Channel .. and screaming to hell and begone .. I did that too!

@ Sara – it’s the life of the A-Z .. constantly catching our tail .. though I’d like to know where mine is! Thanks re the illustrative closings ... jiggles, jewels and jellies ..

So much of nature can be used for our good – it’s finding out, or finding how the ancients managed to live off the land .. the burns attribute is extraordinary isn’t it ..

John Dory is on the menu – and in fact was used by one of the Northern Ireland chefs in his meal for the Great British Menu this year .. as he won – I’ll see it again probably .. when they select the menu for the actual dinner. A John Dory and a pint of the best – sounds a good idea for later on! Probably not today!

@ Sue – you’ve seen sea-glass too – it’s always fun to pick up something sparkly off the beach that’s been tossed and turned so much .. Jellyfish I agree – not so good!

@ Patricia – thanks .. the jellies and sea-glass are all the mix of the shoreline .. I’m glad you haven’t experienced a jellyfish though ..

@ Trisha – some things don’t change! I’m sure you have some very dangerous jelly fish down south – I read about the box jelly fish ... but it’s not British ... and can be called a sea-wasp and has tentacles up to 10m (33feet) in length ... loooong! I wonder how long they live in the tidal river ... as the salt gets diluted with the fresh water ...

@ Maggie – the fresh fish here are delicious ... and I enjoy haddock ... the salt-cod you have is very Portuguese isn’t it .. a speciality dish – I used to have very often in SA with some Portuguese friends ... very good with the right accoutrements ... salads, vino! Etc ..

@ Amanda – thanks for coming by .. interesting that you remember sea-glass from the movie with Diane Keaton – I’m not very knowledgeable about movies, but I wonder which one ..

@ Sue – oooh I didn’t think of jostling jellyfish! That’s fun too ...

@ Lisa – they’re really unpleasant stings aren’t they .. but I’m glad I missed out on the PMOW meeting – however small! That’s what happened here back in the late 50s I think .. as jellies are washed with the currents and they swept up the English Channel ..

Dear Old John Dory – he doesn’t have the best of handsomeness does he ... but he’s a good eat! Aspic and gels coming from hooves and bones isn’t so good .. but having seaweed versions available relieves that worry ...

@ Kaushik – great to see you once again ... and I don’t think many of us realised tumbled glass becomes sea-glass from the oceans ... and jelly fish are definitely not cute – but are amazing creatures so well adapted to life in the seas ..

@ Michelle – the Devonshire Cup coral I found out about for another post .. but I love finding new things ..

Seaglass/ beach glass .. yes they are made into jewellery .. but as someone mentioned – would we know if it was real or not ... I know I wouldn’t ...

I don’t think the John Dory restaurant was there when I lived out in SA ... so a new one on me.

@ Julia – you’re right to feel afraid of the jellies .. or at least steer clear – not easy when they’re around as they’re in shoals usually .. on the beach and in the water ...


Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments .. cheers Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

Sea glass is a new term for me. It always looks quite beautiful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - I was interested in the two types of sea glass .. the physically and chemically weathered glass found from salt-water ... and the beach glass which comes from fresh water and tends to be clearer ...

Lovely to see you - cheers Hilary