Salps Wash Up On Shore

If this happened in the summer, “06880” would be inundated with photos.

But it’s still April (and I think every Westport family is away this week, during school vacation).

That’s why Jeanine Esposito is the only person to have sent “06880” a photo of salps.

One salp …

She and her husband Frederic Chiu saw “thousands” at Compo Beach Tuesday night.

The gelatinous, barrel-shaped balls are washing up on beaches all over the East Coast. Only as big as a marble, and often called “jellyfish eggs,” they’re not related to jellyfish at all. They have no stingers, and are harmless.

They pump water through their bodies, and filter out the phytoplankton that is their food. But when that is unavailable, they wash up on shores.

Jenaine sent a link to an article. It explains all you ever wanted to know about salps.

Except where the name comes from.

… and several. (Photos/Jeanine Esposito)

12 responses to “Salps Wash Up On Shore

  1. Beautiful! I’ll have to head down to see!

  2. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    The pictures are really quite beautiful, though I’m sure I’d be quite creeped out by a whole beachful of them. That link referenced “slimy beaches”…eeek. Maybe I missed it in this post and in the article, but I’m wondering their size?!

  3. Rindy Higgins

    Fun fact: they are related to us backbones creatures!

  4. Suzanne Bell

    Beautiful photos!

  5. Susan ISeman

    Fascinating- thanks for sharing- so gorgeous!

  6. Mara Gottlieb

    Several salps!

  7. Interesting!

  8. Peter Barlow

    I have never heard of salps – (neither has my keyboard which wanted to change the word to “sales”). In the views here they look like something manufactured – plastic maybe. Excellent photos, apparently quite enlarged.

  9. Jeanine A Esposito

    Peter – the single one was about an inch long and the ones in a group were about 1/2 – 3/4 inch. Once the shining sun was behind the clouds, the salps were almost imperceptible when walking despite their very large numbers across at least half of the beach. (And no “salps” doesn’t appear to be a very well-known word by any of our smart gadgets, lol. I’m shocked we found the article — by googling Jelly Fish Eggs:)

  10. Mary Ann Batsell

    I never heard of them before, can you eat them? Are they food for
    Other marine species? What is their purpose? And what brings them here
    At this particular time? The temp of the Sound, because it is so cold is that
    The cause of a lack of food?

  11. These creatures are comb jellies, phylum ctenophora, not related to jelly fish and not salps. They can’t sting and they snag prey with branched tentacles.
    They move with the help of 8 small rows of comb plates. Harmless.

  12. Becky Schaefer

    I vote Sea Gooseberry (Pleurobrachia pileus), which is a type of comb jelly. The salp oozooid form is larger and not quite as spherical, and at least some of the blastozooid forms would still be attached, in chains, and some of their internal structure visible. Search ‘species of comb jelly long island sound’ and there’s a DEEP factsheet about different gelatinous species, their sizes, and when they tend to be found. Sea Gooseberries are 2 cm, and more common in winter rather than summer.