JACKSONVILLE, Fla - The first right whale calf of the season spotted by a survey team was photographed swimming in a sea of cannonball jellyfish about five miles off the shore of Amelia Island.
Those round jellies are in the water everywhere right now but are not part of the whales' diet and pose no harm.
Right whales are here to give birth. Both humpback and right whales show up this time of year when the water cools which tends to coincide with the migration patterns of cannonball jellyfish.
Captain Don Dingman says the unique looking jellyfish are easy to spot since they can float near the surface. He spotted hundreds near the mouth of the St. Johns River while boating Tuesday.
Although the drifters can move up and down in the water column they are at the mercy of the wind and waves and get washed up on the beach often.
Unlike other stinging jellyfish, this species called Stomolophus meleagris is harmless to humans.
They eat small crabs and tiny floating plankton by sucking water into spaces within the sixteen mouth folds when it's bell contracts.
Leatherback turtles feed almost exclusively on cannonballs and the organisms stuck to the jellyfish are just as nutritionally important as the jellyfish itself.
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