Have You Seen These “Sea Walnuts”?
If you walk along the beach this time of year you are likely to see something that you think can sting you...but here's what they are.
Salps are an odd, jellyfish-like substance described by some beachgoers as looking like gummy bears.
They are found along our shoreline this time of year and are gelatinous, dime-sized, barrel-shaped creatures that are completely harmless.
They are often times misidentified as jellyfish, fish larvae, or even jellyfish eggs, but they actually aren't any of those things.
Sometimes referred to as 'sea walnuts', salps are actually one of a group of vertebrate marine animals.
They are usually an open ocean animal, but when the water is warm you will find them near our shoreline.
These interesting creatures suck water in through one end and propel it out of the other, eating a whole lot of plant plankton along the way, and, because of that, can help control algae blooms.
When salps are around, ocean water is usually very clear since the salps are eating up all of the algae. Salps mostly live together in long, coiled chains.
And here's something interesting about this animal. During the summer they expel hundreds of clones without the need of a partner. Each individual is both female and male, or hermaphroditic.
But aside from being annoying to swimmers and a nuisance to fishermen using nets, salps are not poisonous and cannot sting you. And they will probably disappear soon with the hurricane winds and waves that are coming.
For more interesting facts about what's going on at the Jersey Shore, CLICK HERE!