Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Moon Jellyfish

(Image Source)
Aurelia aurita is an exceptionally abundant species of Jellyfish that can be found throughout the oceans of the Northern Hemisphere. Moon Jellyfish range in size from 5 to 40cm in diameter, and are most easily recognized by their translucent bodies (the top part is known as the medusa) and four, horse-shoe shaped gonads visible in the dome.

Interestingly, Moon Jellyfish have no real respiratory parts. Instead, it obtains oxygen by passing it from the water through its membrane. They also have no excretory or circulatory systems as we commonly known them. They do however, have distinct males and females, who reproduce sexually.
(Image Source)

Moon Jellyfish feed primarily on zooplankton, including small mollusks and crustaceans. Their tentacles have venomous nematocysts on them, which help to capture and trap food on their mucus-covered exterior. Their tentacles then push the food along eight different canals which run into the stomach. These canals are unique to the species.

Moon Jellyfish swim by making pulsing movements with their medusa. The main purpose of swimming is not to move about, but to keep them near the surface in order to feed. They depend on the tides and currents for most of their movement.

Moon Jellyfish are preyed upon by fish like the Mola Mola, Seabirds, and Sea Turtles. Their lifespan is only a few months long.


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