12 Facts About Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • Predates dinosaurs.
  • Can survive in waters having low salt content.
  • Eats planktonic animals, small fish, small crustaceans, and mollusk eggs.
  • Eaten by sea turtles (especially Leatherback Turtles), birds, and fish.
  • Adults live up to a year in the wild; 18 months in captivity.
  • Can sense light, chemical changes, and touch. Can also orient themselves spatially.
  • Tentacles are numerous, but short by jellyfish standards.
  • The sting does not penetrate human skin, although those with very thin skin might feel a stinging sensation. Adults usually experience only skin irritation and may develop a rash. Thick-skinned individuals may not even realize they’ve been stung.
  • Breeds year-round when conditions are favorable. However, its reproductive behavior is different from other jellyfish, which jointly release eggs and sperm into the water. The female Moon Jellyfish draws the released sperm into her mouth, and fertilization is internal. She then incubates the eggs and releases the ephyra (larval jellyfish).
  • Larval jellyfish secure themselves to the ocean floor and become polyps. The polyps can produce cloned adults (medusae) for 25 years.
  • The medusae (adults) breed daily in summer. This weakens them, and they often die afterward. However, a polyp can arise from the corpse months later.
  • Medusae (adults) can settle on the bottom of the ocean floor and revert to their younger polyp form.

REFERENCES
Animal Diversity Web, Univ of Michigan Museum of Zoology
Oceana, Corals and Other Invertebrates, Moon Jelly, Aurelia aurita
Algae Barn, A Look at the Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)
Bartholomew, Tamara,  Aurelia aurita (Moon Jellyfish), The Online Guide to the Animals of Trinidad and Tobago
Moon Jelly (Aurelia aurita), The University of Rhode Island, Environmental Data Center
Cannons Marina, Jelly Alert! Moon Jellyfish – How to Spot Them and What to Do if You Get Stung
BioExpedition, Moon Jellyfish
Rosamond Gifford at Burnet Park, Moon Jellyfish Aurelia aurita
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Sea Wonder: Moon Jelly
Study.com, Moon Jellyfish: Habitat & Reproduction
Berwald, Juli, National Geographic, Like ‘Deadpool,’ This Jellyfish Has Amazing Superpowers

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a [mostly] vegan, alcohol-free, [relatively] caffeine-free, Buddhist writer and day-hiker. Her novel, The Clones of Langston, was a Reader’s Favorite medalist and a New Century Writer Awards finalist. It tells the story of cloned workers who are abandoned to form their own society. As the facility housing them erodes, they discover a challenging new world—our own.

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