A combination of strong currents, severe winds and the weak propulsion system of the jellyfish makes these creatures susceptible to washing ashore. According to ReefEd, a service of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, jellyfish have only a weak internal pumping mechanism that allows them to float, but they cannot steer away from danger. When jellyfish are caught in a strong current, they have no means of escape.
Strong weather systems like hurricanes and regular events like the full moon both affect jellyfish. The pull of the full moon exacerbates strong currents, making jellyfish more likely to wash ashore. A small number of jellyfish are pushed ashore by the regular changing of the tides, but deposits of hundreds of jellyfish are the result of unusual tidal activity.
However, washing ashore is part of the natural life cycle of jellyfish, says Matt Babineau of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Jellyfish are 98 percent water. When they wash up on shore, jellyfish quickly dry out and die. However, Babineau advises against picking up jellyfish or throwing them back into the ocean. Some jellyfish are harmless, but others have powerful, painful deadly stings. Additionally, the jellyfish cannot fight against the tidal conditions that washed them ashore, so any jellyfish thrown back into the ocean are likely to wash ashore again.Learn More
Jellyfish swim by opening and closing a part of their body called the bell, which is the transparent, sack like part of their body that the tentacles hang from. The bell catches water when it opens and ejects it when it closes, propelling the jellyfish forward.Full Answer >
All jellyfish are invertebrates, which means that they lack backbones. The rest of their anatomy is quite simple, including a primitive nervous system that is capable of detecting heat, light, food and vibrations. Since jellyfish lack eyes and ears, these nerves are their primary method of navigating the ocean.Full Answer >
Sea anemones are found clinging to sea ice at the poles, adorning coral reefs in the tropics and throughout the world's oceans. The vast majority of sea anemones are found in shallow waters, though scientists have identified species that live at depths of approximately 33,000 feet.Full Answer >
Creatures that eat jellyfish include tuna, sharks and sea turtles such as the leatherback and the hawksbill. These animals eat jellyfish despite their prey's stinging tentacles. Jellyfish also eat each other.Full Answer >