Aequorea and Other Tennessee Jellies

Jellies are so mysterious and beautiful – maybe kind of scary too – they fascinate just about everybody and you can find jellyfish articles and art just about everywhere. Last week I attended the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Chattanooga. The meeting included the 30th annual meeting of the American Elasmobranch Society. I’ve got to give a nod to the Elasmobranch Society since it’s Shark Week. Before I even left Portland I encountered jellyfish art at the far end of Concourse D at PDX. A permanent addition to PDX’s art collection, Tidepools is Sayuri Sasaki Hemann’s three-dimensional underwater jellyfish exhibit and is dedicated to those affected by the 2011 tsunami in Japan. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo and it’s the featured image in this post (just above the title).

The conference was a great opportunity to catch up with fishy friends and colleagues, and the opening social, hosted by the Tennessee Aquarium was the perfect venue. On the banks of the Tennessee River, I wasn’t thinking jellyfish, but they had extensive displays. Again, I couldn’t resist. I could have stayed with those jellies all night.

I haven’t written much about the jellies I encounter on the northern Oregon coast; just Red-eyed medusa, Polyorchis penicillatus.

I was so intrigued with the first Polyorchis I found, I even sketched it.

Polyorchis penicillatus
Polyorchis penicillatus

Other than that, you’ll find just a few words and some pretty images of comb jellies among my posts.

The photo below, which I took May 31, 2014, is a new jelly for me.


Aequorea is not uncommon, but when they wash up on the beach they are clear, flimsy, and watery; often folded or crumpled, they don’t look like much. Floated in a finger bowl, Aquorea is a pretty little medusa. Kind of big by west coast medusa standards, this one is about eight centimeters in diameter. I’m pretty sure this one is Aequorea, but I’m not certain; if you think I’ve got the identification wrong, please let me know.

My favorite, and for sure one of the best talks of the conference, was a shark talk by Chris Mull, et al., who, after accounting for possible confounding factors, like phylogeny, showed that matrotrophs have larger more complex brains. Matrotrophy, means females provide nutrients to developing embryos via a placenta, rather that provisioning eggs with yolk. This is interesting to me because it has implications for surfperches, which also happen to be matrotrophs.

So, from sharks to surfperch, theoutershores to Tennessee jellyfish, and the Elasmobranch Society; what a bunch of unexpected connections. Here’s one more.


I didn’t expect to find such an inspiring pair of socks at the Elasmobranch Society Student Store.


Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.

Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.

Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.

Sept. J. D. 2009. The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest. Revised ed. Harbour Publishing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s