MOON JELLYFISH
Aurelia aurita

Habitat: Moon jellyfish typically are found in the surface waters of the open ocean but can be swept in from the open sea over reefs.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 8 inches across.

Natural history: Moon jellyfish have a flying saucer-shaped bell with many short tentacles. They have four, distinctive reproductive organs in the center of their bell. Up, under the bell, they have four frilly oral arms. Moon jellies catch small plankton with tentacles, covered with stinging cells, called nematocysts. Food is transported to the stomach by moving hairs, called cilia. Yellowtail snapper have been seen eating small Aurelia as they drift over the reef. Moon jellies are a favorite food of the Leatherback Turtle. Moon jellies can give a slight sting to bare skin. This is the jellyfish most commonly washed up on beaches during high tide or after a storm. They are commonly seen in "blooms" of thousands of animals.

Range: Worldwide.


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