World Jellyfish Day – I don’t Think You’re Ready for this Jelly
Join us in celebrating World Jellyfish day by diving in with curiosity and reading about some of the unique and beautiful jellyfish species found throughout the world.
Here we have put together, in no particular order, ten alien-looking species that will raise your eyebrows and make you think twice about what’s really out there in the big blue
1. Crystal Jellyfish
Coming in at number one is the Crystal jellyfish. Located in the waters around North America’s coast, this species of jellyfish is actually completely colorless, hence its name! This beautiful jellyfish has around 150 tentacles lining its glass like bell and in the daylight looks crystal clear. Although, this transparency belies a brighter side.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium says that “Crystal jellies are brightly luminescent jellies, with glowing points around the margin of the umbrella. The components required for bioluminescence include a Calcium++ activated photo protein, called aequorin that emits a blue-green light, and an accessory green fluorescent protein (GFP), which accepts energy from aequorin and re-emits it as green light. Scientists have created ‘green mice’ that glow green when hit by blue light by inserting the GFP gene from the crystal jelly into the mice. The glowing protein is a widely used biological highlighter that helps scientists find and study genes more quickly.”
2. Bloodybelly Comb Jellyfish
Ranking high in the charts for coolest common name on National Jellyfish Day, is our next contender, the Bloodybelly Comb jellyfish. Which, technically speaking isn’t even related to the jellyfish! This jellyfish doesn’t have the famous stinging tentacles that other jellyfish possess. It is actually harmless to humans. However, what they lack in tentacles they certainly make up for in their cilia, cilia are tiny hair-like projections which beat back and forth to help propel the jellyfish through the water. This movement of the cilia creates a beautiful sparkling light show showing an array of colors.
Despite a reputation of potentially being a “showoff”, the red color that the Bloodybelly Comb jellyfish turns, actually makes it nearly invisible when in deep water, which is where they are normally found. Red looks very much like black in the depths of the ocean. The red belly also helps to mask the bioluminescence glow of its prey and keeps it extra safe from the attention on its predators.
3. Cauliflower Jellyfish
Getting its name from the wart-like projections this jellyfish has on its bell resembling that of a vegetable, we give you the Cauliflower jellyfish! While this jelly may not sound the prettiest of its species, it is still truly beautiful.
Most commonly found within the mid-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific and sometimes also around the Atlantic Ocean off of the West African coast. The Cauliflower jellyfish grows relatively large in size reaching up to 1.5 to 1/9 feet in diameter.
Very much like its vegetable nickname, this jellyfish is often also found on dinner plates! Mostly in China and Japan where the species is considered to be a delicacy and is also known to be used for medicinal purposes within these locations.
4. White-spotted Jellyfish
At number four on World Jellyfish Day, we have the white-spotted jellyfish. These jellies have very mild venom and therefore do not pose a threat to us humans. In fact, the white-spotted jellyfish doesn’t generally even use their venom to catch food at all! These jellyfish are what’s known as a filter feeder, similar to oysters and sponges. They can filter over 50 cubic meters of seawater every single day!
The only downside of this cute little thing is a swarm of these jellies can clear an area of zooplankton! Greedy little things! Causing none left for the fish and crustaceans that also munch on the microscopic critters. In such areas where the white-spotted jellyfish are considered to be an invasive species, such as the Gulf of California, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, their hungry appetite poses somewhat of a problem for the native species from shrimps to corals.
5. Black Sea Nettle
Next, a monster jellyfish, the Black Sea Nettle! This particular species of jellyfish can be found in the deep Pacific waters around Southern California. The bell of the Black Sea Nettle can reach up to three foot across, its arms up to 20 feet in length and its stinging tentacles 25 feet long. Without saying, it would be pretty damn scary if you caught yourself in the middle of a bloom with these giants.
Considering their size, this jellyfish is relatively new to science and we don’t actually know that much about them. It has been said that this is partly due to them being very difficult to raise in captivity and they aren’t very often discovered in the wild. There has however, previous encounters where blooms of Black Sea Nettles have surfaced in large numbers in 1989, 1999 and in 2010. But other than these occurrences, what these jellies tend to get up to it a little bit of a mystery.
6. Fried Egg Jellyfish
At sixth on our celebratory world jellyfish day list, the Fried Egg Jellyfish. Now, I wonder why they call this the Fried Egg jellyfish, any ideas. Anyone… Yep, you guessed it! It looks a little like a fried egg. Although, you probably don’t want to be adding this jelly to your morning breakfast! This is the Cotylorhiza tuberculata, better known as the fried egg jellyfish or even the Mediterranean jellyfish.
This particular species of jellyfish actually only survive for around 6 months, from the summer months until the winter, dying when the weather and water starts to cool down.
If you spot them diving, take a close look and you will be able to find tiny fish that hide inside the Fried Egg jellyfish tentacles for their own protection. Sometimes, smaller crab species will also take a chance and hitch a ride on the jellyfish bell too!
7. Flower Hat Jellyfish
Now unlike the Fried Egg jellyfish, unfortunately this isn’t a jellyfish species that wears a floral hat! Sorry to disappoint! But you can see where it gets its common name from. At seventh on our National Jellyfish Day list this jellyfish species is endemic to the Western Pacific, commonly found of off the Southern Japan coast and also within the waters of Brazil and Argentina. They tend to mostly hang about near the ocean floor among the sea grass rather than pulsing their way through the open ocean. The sea grass is better for them in order to catch the small fish which they prey on.
Although alien-like, this jellyfish is a beauty. But don’t be fooled by the extraordinary colors that this jellyfish poses, it packs a nasty sting! According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium “Blooms of the flower hat jellies make swimming in waters off Argentina hazardous. The sting of this jelly is painful, leaving a bright rash. In Brazil, blooms of the flower hat jellies interfere with shrimp fishing; the jellies clog their nets and drive shrimp away, probably to deeper water.”
8. Atolla Jellyfish
Coming in at number eight on our National Jellyfish Day list it the Atolla jellyfish. Also known as the Coronate Medusa, this jellyfish can be found all around the world. Like must deep dwelling creatures the Atolla jellyfish has super awesome bioluminescent abilities. Most deep sea ocean dwellers use their bioluminescence to attract prey, but this jellyfish actually uses it to keep it from becoming prey!
Once attacked, the Atolla jellyfish creates a series of flashes, similar to that of an emergency siren. It’s the flashes that this jellyfish produces that draws in more predators. The idea is that the predators will be more interested in the original attacker, rather than the Atolla jellyfish, allowing the jellyfish a chance to make a getaway! It is this strategy that has given the Atolla jellyfish the nickname “alarm jellyfish”.
Known to have a Darth Vader kind of appearance, we give you our next jelly, the Narcomedusae. This rather unusual type of jellyfish has strangely, not one but two stomachs pouches. To be able to fill both pouches with prey, the Narcomedusae holds its long tentacles out in front of it when swimming. Researchers believe that this is to make them a more effective ambush predator.
According to the unexpected world of biology, the people at Creature Cast have said that “Some species of Narcomedusae (affectionately called narcos by the people that study them) can grow inside their own mother, who provides nourishment and a safe environment for her. The narco babies can then leave their mother, find another jellyfish of an entirely different species, attach to its flesh, and thrive on the nourishment and safe environment it provides.”
10. Pink Meanie Jellyfish
Last but not least on our celebratory Jellyfish List is the Pink Meanie jellyfish! Having only been first observed in large groups in the year 2000 off of the Gulf of Mexico, it is a mystery as to how a jellyfish of this size hadn’t been discovered sooner.
The Pink Meanie jellyfish has a taste for other jellies and actually preys on other jellyfish! Using its very long, up to 70 feet long, tentacles to entangle them, they then reel in their victims and consume them. These creatures have been known to eat as many as 34 jellyfish at a time! Sounds like something out of a horror movie doesn’t it!!
We know that this jellyfish inhabits the US Atlantic, the Coastal Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, but also perhaps other parts of the world too. The Pink Meanie jellyfish is also known to be named Drymonema Larsoni after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientist Ronald Larson, the man that pioneered work on this jellyfish back in the early ’80s. Read more about it here.
National Jellyfish Day – Facts About Jellyfish You May Not Know!
What is a group of jellyfish called?
The most common term for a large group of jellyfish is a ‘swarm’. How does such a large jellyfish bloom occur you ask? Well, not being the strongest swimmers, jellyfish are highly susceptible to ocean currents and often end up in the same place. The most common place you’ll find a large bloom of jellyfish is where two different currents meet.
It can be pretty to look at, but certainly not somewhere you want to get stuck with the wrong kind of jellyfish!
What do jellyfish eat?
All sorts! Jellyfish eat a wide range of marine life, mainly depending on what’s around at the time they get hungry. Their main diet consists of small plants, copepods, small fish eggs and small fish known as larvae. That said, when in a large bloom they’ll often eat anything in water which can cause quite a disturbance to the marine ecosystem, cosuming a lot of the food that other fish and marine life would normally survive on.
How long do jellyfish live for?
It widely varies between species but most jellyfish live under a year, however some will live only a matter of days. When it comes to jellyfish that are larger than your average human, these jellyfish have most likely been around for a while.
How many species of jellyfish are there?
Currently around 2000 species of jellyfish have been documented, but scientists estimate that there could still be over 300,000 species yet to be discovered. That’s a lot of jellyfish…