Those Aren’t Baby Jellyfish Connecticut, It’s a Sea Grape
Have you noticed tiny globs of transparent jelly washing up at Hammonasset, Rocky Neck, or Misquamicut? It's the time of year that Sea Salp wash up on Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Long Island beaches. Don't be scared by them, they can't hurt or sting you.
The Sea Salp is also known as a Sea Grape, which I thought was just a bar in Fairfield, the 'Vacuum cleaner of the ocean', or ' Ocean jellybeans'. They're barrel-shaped, can grow to be a few inches tall, and they move around by contracting. Salps are related to sea squirts, they're not jellyfish. They're harmless to humans, don't sting or bite, and feed on plankton. I will say that walking or laying on them in the wet sand is gross. Salps are 97% water, and yes, they are edible, but very salty. Another salty fact about Salp, they're hermaphrodites that reproduce asexually.
Individual Salps can form together into massive colonies, and when they breed, it's a good thing, because according to theguardian.com, these little Salps are absorbing carbon out of our atmosphere like little champs, and helping us in the battle against global warming.
With the warm weather that we've been having here in Connecticut this Summer, it's a buffet out there for Sea Salp, they're grubbing down on harmful algae blooms and phytoplankton. Typically they float along the surface, but they're so tiny compared to the crashing waves, so a lot end up on our beaches. Don't squish them, Salps are dong good things for us.