National Geographic : 1955 Jun
Perhaps the most commonly encountered of the sea nettles, or stinging jellyfish, along the Atlantic coast belong to the genus Dactylometra. These are delicately tinted creatures with tentacles usually not more than a few feet long. Many a bather in Chesapeake Bay has had a brief brush with this sea nettle and no doubt remembers it very distinctly.* Because the creature is relatively small, the swimmer is likely to have escaped with nothing worse than an hour or so of burning skin pain. However, any bather unfortunate enough to get mixed up with a number of such jellyfish simul taneously, especially in the region of his face and eyes, could suffer far more serious injuries. Live Specimens-Handle with Care! When I received word from Woods Hole in May that the lion's mane was appearing in the waters there, I packed my things hurriedly and was off to see Sir Arthur's "lethal weapon" for myself. With Milton B. Gray (widely known as "Sam"), veteran collector for the Marine Biological Laboratory, I rowed in a skiff across Eel Pond and pulled out into the harbor. The summer season had not yet begun, and the only boats we had to watch out for were fishing craft in the vicinity of Sam Cahoon's Dock. The big steamship wharf was deserted, so we steered our small boat into the slip where the steamers from New Bedford, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket berth during their summer stops at Woods Hole. It was here that we came upon our lion's mane, * See "One Hundred Hours Beneath the Chesapeake," by Gilbert C. Klingel, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1955. 799 + Clam Diggers Strike It Rich on a Maine Beach A suspicious indentation in the wet sand betrays the clam's hiding place. When the digger pokes with his finger, he feels a pull or suction as the startled bivalve withdraws its siphon into the shell. Prob ing deeper, the clammer un covers the succulent mollusk. Here Maine residents and summer visitors burrow in the sands of Little River, an estuary near Kennebunkport. *-Waferlike sand dollars lit tering the Maine coast fasci nate Paul Zahl, the author's son. Bleached specimens are dead skeletons. Dark ones are alive; short delicate spines form a velvet feltwork on each hard, flat disc. Rough surf has dis lodged these creatures from the ocean floor and cast them ashore.