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Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

Moon-jellies Click/Touch photo to view enlargement.

Moon Jellies

(Aurelia aurit)
Jellyfish are commonly known to be a potentially hazardous animal, with their capability to inflict painful stings. What isn’t as widely known is just how diverse this group is. Jellies can be large, like the Lion’s Mane Jelly, or so small as to nearly be invisible, like some of the very small and potentially deadly box jellies of the South Pacific. The Moon Jellies in this display get up to the size of a dinner plate and are relatively harmless to humans due to their small stinging cells, unless found in large numbers.

Jellies also called jellyfish, are boneless, brainless and heartless, and are made almost entirely of water. They have been around since before the dinosaurs. When deprived of food they can shrink nearly 1/10th their size to save energy. They redevelop to normal size when food is available. Jellies are also related to coral and anemone.

Habitat

Temperate and tropical oceans worldwide; near the surface of shallow bays and harbors

Diet

Plankton, small shrimp, fish eggs, and larvae.

Behavior

Jellies eggs are fertilized when the female ingests floating sperm that were released by an adult male. When the female releases her fertilized eggs, they develop into a larval form which floats in the water until it finds a hard surface that it can anchor itself to. Once anchored it forms into a polyp (that resembles an anemone or an upside down jelly) and divides itself into a stacked series of saucer-like clones that then break off and swim away. As these forms called ephyra grow they form into adult jellies.

Predators

All seven species of Sea turtles include jellies in their diet. Other animals such as tuna, spiny dogfish, butterfish and ocean sunfish eat jellies as well.