Saturday, September 1, 2012

Spotted Jelly

Mastigias papua
The Spotted Jelly is a neat little Jellyfish that hails from the shallow lagoons and bays of the Indian and Pacific Oceans (Theya re also sometimes referred to as Lagoon Jellyfish). They aren't especially, large, but aren't by any means tiny either. They can grow to lengths of around 1ft (30cm), with bell diameters of about 4in (12cm).

Each Spotted Jelly has four interesting little arms that each have mouth openings on them. That's right, they don't have just one mouth, they have a whole bunch of mouths! They use all those tiny mouths to feed on different kinds of Zooplankton.

Because they only eat really tiny things, small fish sometimes hang out near the Jellies. Like many jellyfish, this particular species has the ability to inject toxins into attackers, so the little fish will actually swim up inside the bell to stay safe! (The toxin will cause pain and nausea in humans, but there have been no reported deaths)

Spotted Jellies are normally solitary, but sometimes groups will form when they swim towards the surface during the daytime (they then descend deeper at night). They are able to reproduce both sexually and asexually. Sexually reproduction takes places only during times when water is cooler, but asexual reproduction (through budding) can happen year round.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Southern Pacific Ocean
Size :  Body diameter around 4in (12cm)
Classification : Phylum : Cnidaria -- Class : Scyphozoa -- Order : Rhizostomeae
Family : Mastigiidae -- Genus : Mastigias -- Species : M. papua

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