Photo of the Day: Stranded Jelly

26 09 2007


A dead jellyfish, rocking in the surf of Cape May, NJ at about 6 in the morning. Simple, maybe, but it’s still one of my favorite shots from this past summer.



4 responses

26 09 2007

A very well framed shot and beautifully captured.

27 09 2007
kevin z

How could you just stand there while that jelly was stranded?? Why didn’t you do something!?

By the way, nice use of ‘Jelly’, way to support my ongoing battles against paraphyletic nomenclature.

27 09 2007

I apologize for offending your sensibilities, Kevin. From this moment forward I will be a friend to oozing lumps of goo I may find along the beach, whatever state they may be in, and I will not mention them until I know such translucent gobs by name. Since you broached the subject, what should I have called the beached animal?

28 09 2007
kevin z

No you were doing the right thing! It is certainly a Jelly. But for some odd reason people seem to think Jellies are a Fish (they also seem to do this with sea stars…). In fact there is mounting evidence to show that in fact Jellies (Phylum Cnidaria) are quite distant to Fish (Phylum Chordata). The two are hardly related. This is what I refer to as paraphyletic nomenclature – the naming of taxa with root words that do not share an immediate common ancestor. This is a great problem in science. We are misconstruing the populace, who trust us to know what things are called, into thinking that Jellies are a type of Fish, when in fact they are not. There are many instances of this. Thankfully, modern techniques such as DNA sequencing and analysis can show how distantly related paraphyletic nomens are. Though Sea Stars are one of our close invertebrate cousins, they are not closely enough related to Fish to be called Starfish. The list goes on.

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