Not Just for Kids By Amanda Lofton
Vol. 9, No. 32
August 9-15, 2001
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Sea Nettles: The Age-long War Between Humans and These Creatures of the Sea

This Jellyfish adventure comes to us from Kim Hawko, 11, of Eastern Shore’s Trappe. Kim, an avid writer of short stories, was inspired when her brother, eight-year-old Trevor, was stung by a “malicious” sea nettle, one of the Bay’s most common jellyfish. Outraged, Kim imagines an age-long war between humans and these creatures of the sea.

Sea nettles: A familiar word, perhaps? To those who do not know what a sea nettle is or how annoying it can be, I’ll describe it for you: a lean, mean, stinging machine. These seemingly harmless blobs of jelly with their long, silvery fine hairs stringing out behind them, can KILL. Yes, I am serious. Inside the ‘hairs’ are very thin bubbles that burst at the slightest touch. Those bubbles contain liquid acid. Here’s an example of a sea nettle attack.

He’s floating near a dock. He sees a nice, juicy leg near him. He lashes out a tentacle (those ‘hairs’) at the leg. There’s a gurgling scream from up above, and the water is cleared instantly. He grins in malice and returns to the murky deep.

Some people wonder whether sea nettles have feelings or intent. Scientists say no. But let’s take a minute, here. You almost never see sea nettles where nobody is swimming. They always hang around docks, swimming areas and beaches. Is it because they want to terrorize and sting people … or because of currents? Personally, I believe the former, that sea nettles are malicious, mean, stinging things. Ever since humans discovered that sea nettles hurt, the two have been at war. Who, we wonder, will win the fight for the oceans?

- Kim Hawko

Jellyfish Fun Facts:
The largest jellyfish is the Lion’s Mane. It has tentacles that can be as long as half a football field!

Jellyfish are relatives of sea anemones and coral.

Jellyfish have been on Earth for over 650 million years, even before sharks and dinosaurs.

The Australian Box jelly is the most dangerous kind; it has toxins more potent than cobra venom.

But They All Aren't Bad!
Certain kinds of jellyfish are being used to treat cancer and heart diseases

Jellyfish offer shelter for tiny fish and crabs that travel with them

Sea nettles help the oyster population by eating the comb jelly, a common predator.

Helpful Hint:
Use meat tenderizer for jellyfish stings! Tentacles are made of protein, which the tenderizer breaks down.

Kids Calander

Bugs In My Backyard - Fri. Aug 10 (10am)-Meet local author Debbie Groat while she talks about her new treasured memories book Bugs In My Backyard. Bring photos for a scrap-booking craft. Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center. 410/573-1115.

Groovy Girls Get-Together - Aug.11 & 12 (2:30pm)-Create cool accessories with pals, plus lots of fun and games. Ages 4-6. Zany Brainy, Annapolis Harbour Center. 410/266-1447.

Sparkles ‘n Wings - Mon. Aug 13 (10:30am)-Make sparkly butterflies with glitter paint. Ages 3-5. Zany Brainy, Annapolis Harbour Center. 410/266-1447.

Track Mystery Footprints - Sat. Aug 18 (2-3:30pm)-Who left those footprints? Can you see the story they tell? Track down some clues and then make tracks of your own. Ages 6-9. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp. $3; rsvp: 410/535-5327.

Free Book to Readers
Aug. 14, 15, 16 & 23 (7-8pm)-Postulate and theorize on Leonard Calvert and the Maryland Adventure by Ann Jensen at Family Book Club. Get your free copy when you register at one of four Calvert Library locations. free; rsvp early:

  • Fairview: 410/257-2101
  • Prince Frederick: 410/535-0291
  • Southern: 410/326-5289
  • Twin Beaches: 410/257-2411

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly