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Jellyfish graveyard found on shore near Ocean Drive

Group of dead jellyfish
Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 21:04:21-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you live near the Gulf and go to the beach, you're bound to see a jellyfish at least a few times. Boid Horn said he takes walks by the bay frequently with his wife and dog, and he said he's seen the creatures before.

"It's not uncommon for us to see up to five at a time just floating around." he said.

Horn said there was a time a jellyfish got too close for comfort.

"I've been stung before." said he said. "We were out swimming and it just brushed up against your leg and sure enough when you get out in the air it just starts stinging."

According to the Texas State Aquarium President and CEO, Jesse Gilbert, there are several different species of jellyfish that can be found in the Coastal Bend waters, including Portuguese Man O' Wars, Cabbage Heads, Moon Jellyfish, Comb Jellyfish, and Atlantic Sea Nettles. He said some appear seasonally.

Because the aquatic creatures frequent the bay, spotting one washed up on shore shouldn't be alarming. However, what about seeing a large group of dead jellyfish on land? The KRIS 6 News team found that scene at the shoreline of Ocean Drive and Sand Dollar Boulevard. The water seemed to have brought in dozens of deceased Cabbage Head Jellyfish.

"A bunch like that, I've never seen a bunch like that. It could be part of the oil spill or it could be when we had the cold weather." Horn said after we showed him footage of the jellyfish graveyard.

The Aquarium's CEO said there are several factors that could've caused this particular occurrence.

"It's not unusual. Certainly, if you're not from the area, it's not a sight you're used to seeing. But it does happen on the Gulf beaches it will happen on the Bay Beaches periodically." said Gilbert. "Given that we just went through that intense cold front over the Christmas Eve, Christmas holiday that could've added to the weather dynamic. You can have rainfall events. Sometimes rainfall events increase the nutrients in the water and brings in an increase of jellyfish and they just go through their lifecycle."

Gilbert said jellyfish could also get caught in high wind and high tide and could've washed up on land, unable to get back in the water. KRIS 6 News also asked if the Christmas Eve oil spill near the Flint Hills Ingleside Crude Oil Terminal, could've had an impact. Gilbert said it's impossible to rule that out. However, he said they monitor aquatic life near the aquarium and it appears many animals are doing well.

"We actually saw some baby fish swimming in the area. That's a pretty good sign because baby fish are pretty fragile." he added.

If people see jellyfish, dead or alive on shore they are urged to avoid touching it. Gilbert said the creatures can still sting even if it is deceased. He said if there is an area that needs to be cleared of jellyfish, people are encouraged to contact the Texas State Aquarium for help.