Comb Jellyfish in Florida
Gelatinous comb jellyfish take over the Indian River Lagoon from mid-October through May, adding to the charm of the Pink Floyd-esque laser show. Very few people know that comb jellies are completely harmless. They may look like normal jellyfish, but they don’t sting. Comb jellies in Florida are known for creating colors by emitting a flashing green-blue light whenever kayakers’ hands or paddle disturbs them. They also create a glow by refracting light through the movement of their cilia. When white light hits them from a beam of the submersible, the cilia break it into its very own wavelength colors. This is what creates that hypnotic glittering rainbow. It may sound like it’s similar to the dinoflagellate tour in the early fall or summer, but all the visitors swear that two experiences are completely different. So, comb jelly tour may be worth a separate visit after all!
What You Need to Know About The Indian River Lagoon
This lagoon is a grouping of three lagoons: the Indian River, the Banana River, and the Mosquito Lagoon, on the Atlantic Coast off of Florida. This is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America and is home to over 4,000 species of flora and fauna. The reason why dinoflagellates love to set up camp here is that the water is high in salt content. So, it makes the perfect home for these sea creatures which create a natural light to shield themselves. Scientists and researchers from all over the world come here to study the bioluminescent dinoflagellates.
What’s the best place to see comb jellyfish in Florida?
The comb jellies you’ll see on the bioluminescence tours in Florida, basically take over the Indian River Lagoon in the winter. The high-salt-water body stretches from the northern part of Titusville (ponce Inlet) through Palm Beach County all the way to Jupiter Inlet. The 156-miles long coastline is the perfect place to see these luminous creatures in North America.
What do comb jellies eat?
They mostly eat the algae overgrowth created by fertilizers and sewage dumped in the ocean by human habitation.
Are comb jellies gross?
They definitely are! Comb jellies have one orifice from which they eat and defecate! So yes, they eat in the same place they pass their waste. They are also super stinky which is why we don’t recommend swimming in water with these jellies.
At Florida Adventurers Tours, we run a safety-oriented, well-practiced operation. Every kayaker is provided with a life preserver jacket, a glow stick, and a whistle. Every boat has a flashlight, which is used in case a motorboat comes by and increased visibility is needed. Each boat is assigned a specific number and periodic checks are conducted to make sure all boats stay together. The bioluminescent kayaking tours begin at dusk. As you paddle out of the Haulover Canal into the shallow lagoon waters, it darkens, and you’ll start to see the glowing plankton with each stroke of your paddle. If you are a newbie kayaker, you don’t need to worry since the paddling here is easy. Once your group gets to the lagoon, you will be free to paddle off a bit and just relax and play with the water.