Everyone knows that Destin, Florida is a beautiful coastal town that is renowned for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and an abundance of marine life. One of the most mesmerizing and fascinating creatures found in the waters off the coast of Destin is the jellyfish. Jellyfish are incredible creatures that come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are a common sight in the waters and beaches of Destin.
Moon Jellyfish are named after their translucent, moon-shaped bell. They are easily identified by the four round circles that you can see through their clear body. Moon Jellyfish grow to about 10-16 inches in diameter and have delicate, fine tentacles. Moon jellyfish are harmless to humans, and their sting is generally too weak to cause any significant harm. They are commonly found in the waters around Destin during the summer months.
Sea Nettle Jellyfish
The Sea Nettle jellyfish is a larger species of jellyfish that can grow up to 3 feet in diameter. They are often recognized by their long, flowing tentacles, which can be over 20 feet long. Sea Nettle jellyfish have a powerful sting, and their venom can be dangerous to humans, causing severe pain and even breathing difficulties. They are most commonly found in the waters around Destin during the summer months.
Portuguese Man O’ War
The Portuguese Man o’ war is not actually a jellyfish, but rather a colony of organisms working together. They are often recognized by their large, colorful float that sits above the water’s surface, with long, stinging tentacles that trail below. If you didn’t know what they were, you might think they were blue plastic baggies. The tentacles of the Portuguese Man o’ war can reach up to 165 feet in length, and their sting can be extremely painful, and even life-threatening. These are commonly found washed up on the beach in the winter months.
Blue Button Jellyfish
Blue Button jellyfish are small, only about the size of a quarter. They are recognized by their bright blue color. They have short feathery tentacles and are generally harmless to humans, although their sting can cause mild irritation. Blue Button jellyfish are most commonly found in the waters around Destin during summer. However, they can also be found washed up on the beach even in the winter months.
By-the-Wind Sailors (also known as Velella velella) are a type of jellyfish that are often recognized by their sail-like structure which catches the wind like a sailboat – hence their name. They have a purplish base and short tentacles. If you have never seen one, you might think it’s a Portuguese Man o’ war that’s been popped! They are generally harmless to humans, although their sting can cause mild irritation. By-the-Wind Sailors are most commonly found in the waters around Destin during the summer. But like the Blue Button and Man o’ Wars, they can be found in the wintertime as well.
Pink Meanie Jellyfish
The Pink Meanie Jellyfish is a relatively new species that was discovered in the waters around Destin in 2000. They are recognized by their pink color and long tentacles, which can reach up to 70 feet in length. The sting of the Pink Meanie Jellyfish is extremely painful and can cause severe injury, including cardiac arrest. They are most commonly found in the waters around Destin during the warm summer months.
Cannonball Jellyfish are a common species found in the waters around Destin. These jellyfish have a distinct spherical shape and are often found in large groups. While the sting of a cannonball jellyfish is not usually severe, it can cause skin irritation and a rash.
If you do happen to get stung by a jellyfish while in Destin, there are a few simple remedies you can try. First, if you have access to a chlorine swimming pool, go jump in the pool – the chlorine will neutralize the sting (this is what any surfer will tell you!)
However, if you don’t have access to a pool – rinse the affected area with vinegar to neutralize the toxins. Then, apply a mixture of baking soda and seawater to the sting to help relieve pain and reduce swelling. It’s also important to monitor the sting and seek medical attention if necessary.
Often mistaken for jellyfish, Salps are some of the most fascinating creatures you can find in the ocean and on the beach! They are gelatinous, barrel-shaped animals that are often transparent and can be found in both warm and cold waters around the world. Salps are known for their unique ability to form long chains, which can stretch for several meters, and they are important members of the ocean’s planktonic community. So next time you are walking along the beach and come across one, take a moment to investigate this harmless little wonder.
Lastly, we feel it’s important to make visitors aware of one more ‘species’ of jellyfish (for lack of better terms) There are times when beachgoers have been playing in the gulf all day and at the end of the day, find they have this awful itchy rash all over their body – especially where the bathing suit was….
Sea lice, Sunbather’s Eruption, are tiny, translucent, crab-like larvae that can be found in marine waters, particularly in warmer regions such as the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Florida. They are actually the larvae of jellyfish and some species of sea anemones.
When sea lice come into contact with human skin, they can cause an itchy, prickly rash known as seanbather’s eruption. The rash typically appears within 4 to 24 hours after exposure and can last for several days. It may include small, raised red bumps and blisters, as well as a burning or stinging sensation.
If sea lice get into your bathing suit, it’s important to remove the suit and wash it in hot, soapy water as soon as possible. This will help to kill any remaining larvae and prevent the rash from spreading. You should also take a shower and rinse your skin with fresh water to remove any remaining larvae. Applying a hydrocortisone cream or taking an antihistamine can help to relieve the itching and discomfort associated with sea bather’s eruption. If the rash is severe or persists for more than a few days, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for further advice and treatment.
We hope this information is helpful and interesting! Next time you are walking down the beach and see a jellyfish washed up, you’ll be able to identify it. Or if you’re unlucky enough to be stung by one, you know the best way to treat it.
Let us know if we missed out on any other species. Also, if you spot a jellyfish on the beach and want to send us a picture – Let Us Know! Til next time…