Common Moon Jellyfish

ANIMAL:
Common Moon Jellyfish Aurelia aurita

Type of Animal:
Ulmarid Jellyfish

Habitat:
Utilize salt & brackish water-Inshore/nearshore harbors, nearshore/inshore estuaries, bays, coastal waters, coastlines, inshore seas, inshore ocean areas, reefs, temperate seas/oceans w/ consistent currents, upwelling areas, ocean surfaces, open ocean, open waters, tropical waters, epipelagic zones, mesopelagic zones, beaches, occasionally found in freshwater lakes

Location(s):
Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean-almost worldwide

Appearance:
Almost entirely translucent & has 4 horseshoe-shaped gonads, bell on top

Food/Diet:
Zooplankton, larvae, mollusks, crustaceans, small fish, rotifers, diatoms, protozoans, tunicate larvae, nematodes, young polychaetes, eggs, small comb jellies, small hydrozoans, small jellies, planktonic worms

Status in Wild:
Stable

Lifestyle:
Groups range from as few as 10 to as many as 5,000

Additional Info:

Called:
Adult: Medusa
Young: Planula/Ephyra
Group: Swarm/Bloom/Smack
 
Diameter:
Adult: 7-12 in
Young: 0.39 in

Gestation:
1 week 

Life Span:
Medusa: 6-12 months
Polyp: 1-25 years

Height:
3 in

Main predators are fish, sea turtles, birds, sea anemones, sharks, larger jellyfish, & marine mammals.
 
Reproduces both asexually & sexually. Start life out as planulae resulting from sexual reproduction. Planulae attach themselves to surfaces, developing into polyps. Polyps reproduce asexually by budding forming entire colony. Some polyps produce juveniles known as ephyrae. These ephyrae become adults (medusae), which reproduce sexually. Most soon die after sexual reproduction starting cycle all over again.
 
Since they don’t have lungs, they breathe through membrane.
 
Short tentacles lined w/ nematocysts (stinging cells) used for catching prey/defense.
 
Prey gets trapped in mucus coating animal & passed via cilia into oral cavity for digestion.
 
Also called Moon Jelly, Common Jellyfish, Moon Jellyfish, & Saucer Jelly.

Fun Fact(s):
Sometimes eaten in parts of Asia.
 
While found in water, they’re poor swimmers relying on ocean currents to move them.
 
Asexual jellyfish can undergo lifecycle reversal, essentially becoming younger rather than older.
 
They’re capable of extreme regeneration.
 
While they can sting, these stings are usually only somewhat painful & not deadly. Most stings occur from someone touching one on the beach (even dead ones can sting).
 
These animals made of 95% water, mouth, & digestive system. They don’t have blood/eyes/brains/ears/heart.

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