C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


In-line Skating, Man of War, Jelly Fish and strange jogs along the beach...

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

In-line Skating, Man of War, Jelly Fish and strange jogs along the beach...

I'm in the process of grabbing my gym gear and running out the door so I can get a workout in and go in-line skating. We've been doing the storyboards for three music videos so I have to work out my schedule to coincide with the girls when I return to TX, SC and NY. We're recording the vocals in SC, filming one of three music videos in Tx while my martial arts training is ongoing in Manhattan and my strength/stamina training in Palm Bay.

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

Eau Gallie, Melbourne FL

I am fascinated with my morning jogs along the Eau Gallie shoreline because there are Jelly Fish and Man of War everywhere I look. They wash in and out with the tide creating an obstacle course of nature where I sprint around, jump over and avoid translucent blue and purple blobs with tentacles bobbing around in the ocean and washing up on the beach during my work out.

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

They don't die right away, which can be a wee bit of a distraction if you are a gawking New Yorker like I am (silly grin). I like running along the water's edge so I do a lot of weaving left and right (depending upon what the tide does). That means I sometimes get to see these buggers swim/float during my jog if the waves deposit and scoops them up fast enough.

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

My advice? Don't ever step in the sea plants... I mean NEVER. Sometimes there are greenish-purpley wormy-snakey things that get tangled up and hidden in there... Makes you run faster when they slither out or stuff starts to move. They're slow and freaky looking... very deceptive... I was flinching too much to get a photo-op of what the cartoons in my head have dubbed "the sea aliens." Maybe on my next run if I'm not still chicken I'll snap a few shots of the strange things that float out of the ocean because I'm a bit terrified of getting poisoned or stung by this stuff. I have a first aid kit in the car because there's wildlife everywhere in Florida (including the Mall - LOL). 

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

It's amazing how difficult these things are to spot in the water until it's almost too late. Some of the Man of War have extremely long tentacles that get partially hidden in the sand so you have to really pay close attention where you step while being curious about those colorful air sacks. About.com states: "If it's in the water, get away from it. If it's on the beach and you need to walk around it, walk above it (dune side) rather than below it (surf side), since it may be trailing tentacles. Keep in mind a jellyfish does not need to be alive in order to sting you. Detached tentacles are capable of stinging and releasing venom for several weeks."

Being a Curious George kinda gal of course I have to research how much trouble the wee people and I can get into if we're not careful while exploring Florida together. Here's a new word for you that I taught my kids: nematocysts. Here is a diagram that shows the anatomy of a nematocyst cell and its “firing” sequence from NOAA.

According to the NOAA Ocean Service Education diagram: "The cell’s thread is coiled under pressure and wrapped around a stinging barb. When potential prey makes contact with the tentacles of a polyp, the nematocyst cell is stimulated."

According to Biology-Online.org: Nematocysts are "a structure found within a specialized cell, the nematocyte (also known as cnidocytes, or cnidoblasts) consists of a capsule containing a coiled tube. When the nematocyte is triggered the wall of the capsule changes its water permeability and the inrush of water causes the tube to evert explosively ejecting the nematocyst from the cell. The tube is commonly armed with barbs and may also contain toxin.  Involved in the stinging mechanism for defense and prey-capture that is unique and present in all animals of the phylum Cnidaria (corals, sea anemones, hydrae, jellyfish, etc.)."

Here's a YouTube of nematocysts firing in a lab clip.

Here's a YouTube of nematocysts firing in a squid.

Nasty bit of business, eh? Especially the part about still being able to sting people after death... venomous cells indeed.







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