Sea gooseberries

I thought these clear little blobs washing up on the shoreline were some stage of a jellyfish life-cycle. However, I now think that they are sea gooseberries (Pleurobrachia pileus, in the phylum Ctenophora – so not even a jellyfish at all).


A sea gooseberry on an oystershell


Sea gooseberry

I wasn’t sure if these things could sting, which is why I put this one on a shell to photograph it. However, unlike jellyfish, sea gooseberries don’t even have stingers.

A sadder sight lately along the tide line is the numerous dead dogfish. I guess they’re discarded by fishermen. There have been quite a lot of skate or ray carcasses too, just their spiky spines and heads with their wings removed. At least the birds love feeding on the skate remains and the flesh doesn’t last for long. By contrast, the dogfish just stick around (except for the ones that get eaten by the four-legged dogs walking on the beach – some of the local dogs seem to find part rotted dogfish particularly tasty).


One of the many dead dog fish on Llanddwyn and Penrhos beaches lately. I thought this one had particularly pretty markings.


Another dead dogfish…


A discarded midsection of a skate


3 thoughts on “Sea gooseberries

  1. michael george jackson

    I’ve also noticed that Dogfish seem to hang around for a long time, I wonder why the Gulls Crows Ravens etc don’t seem interested in them?

    1. Kay B Post author

      I’ve no idea – I’ve read that it’s because their skins are so tough. But even when their skins are split, the birds seem to ignore them. Maybe somebody else can tell us…

  2. barry

    They do have stingers, but not with enough power to hurt us. They look beautiful as they cruise through the water trailing two long stinging tentacles behind. You can often see them as you wade or snorkel in the waters off Llanddwyn beach.
    I don’t know why dogfish get discarded and not eaten… The quantities of Huss and chips and Rock salmon I’ve devoured (yummy) doesn’t bear thinking about. It may be the shark liver oil, which, of course, was not in my battered fried fillets.
    The dried skin is shagreen, a natural sandpaper, which will both sand and oil your woodwork, if you have the stomach for the smell !!


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