Video shows clinging jellyfish washing up on Mustang and North Padre Islands

Clinging jellyfish, or nemopsis bachei, won’t be around long

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Creatures are washing up by the thousands along the Texas coast but chances are you won’t see them until you’re up close and personal.

Jace Tunnell with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi said beachgoers are reporting transparent, gelatinous-like blobs on Mustang and North Padre islands.

They’re called clinging jellyfish, or nemopsis bachei, and they can be found all along the Texas coast right now.

Watch Tunnell explain clinging jellyfish in the video player above. The video was provided to KSAT by Jace Tunnell and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

The clinging jellyfish won’t stick around for long, though, as they’re found in cooler waters.

“Now these things are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and in cooler waters. And so right about now, you know, waters are warming up they basically disappear,” Tunnell said. “You won’t see them again until the water starts cooling down, probably around November. But November through March, this is probably one of the most common jellies that you’ll find washed up.”

Clinging jellyfish have a maximum size of a half-inch and are often mistaken as eggs.

When they are placed in water, that’s when people can see their tentacles and other jellyfish characteristics.

Tunnell said they have an “X” across their bells, and that’s actually their gonads. They have four different clusters of tentacles, which they use to feed on plankton.

“...the best way to be able to figure out what kind they are is actually to be able to put them in water, because then they open up, you can see if they have tentacles, you can see a lot of their structures that you can’t see if they’re just washed up in the sand and they look like a clear, transparent blob,” Tunnell said. “... But when you put these in, you start seeing all the detail to them. And that makes them really interesting and where you can identify what species they are.”

Clinging jellyfish do not sting and are only expected to stay on the South Texas coast for the next few weeks, according to Tunnell.

Tunnell and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies often post images of interesting creatures and finds on beaches in the Corpus Christi area. Click here for more posts from Tunnell and the institute.

About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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