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A single specimen of the Australian spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) was found in West Bay (near Galveston) in late May. One can easily mistake this large jellyfish as a cabbagehead but there are some easily identifiable characteristics that help with the identification. The mushroom-shaped bell of the spotted jellyfish is bluish-brown to creamy white in color and bears many evenly distributed opaque white spots. The underside of the bell bears eight stout feeding appendages. The species prefers saltier waters (ie. Gulf of Mexico), but as evidence from the recent collection, can be found in Texas bays.

This is the same species that showed up in large concentrations off the central Gulf coast in 2000 and is believed to have been introduced into the Gulf and Caribbean from ships transiting the Panama Canal. These jellyfish can reach a diameter of about 60 cm (abt. 2-ft) and can weigh up to 10 kg (over 20 lbs). Each jellyfish can clear 50 cubic meters of water a day of planktonic organisms (including larval fish and shrimp) and dense aggregations can alter food webs in the water column. The following link has additional information on this species and photos to aid in identification (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?SpeciesID=1192). Should you find any of these jellyfish while fishing I'd appreciate the following:

1) Where were they observed (latitude and longitude coordinants highly desirable);
2) An estimate of the density and expanse of the occurrences, if possible.
3) Take photos and, if possible, collect one (a small specimen). Simply place it on ice (placing in a plastic bag away from the fresh water would be great) and contact me to make arrangements to pick the specimen up.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Lance Robinson
TPWD - Coastal Fisheries
Dickinson Marine Laboratory
 

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Give it hell Remy!
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We saw something similar to that in the Colorado River under our lights at Selkirk a couple of weekends ago. Can't be positive it was what you are looking for but it did jump out of the water and propelled itself about a foot. Had spots on it and was about the size of a salad plate with about 14 - 16" appendages. The main body of it looked very clear except for the spots. I'll try to watch closer next time we are down there.
 

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Lance, I would also send your request directly to the partyboat operators in Galveston and Freeport. They are out there every day and are as likely as anyone to encounter one.

Lumberjack93
 
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