JellyFish Facts

Aurelia Aurita

Aurelia Aurita picture

Aurelia Aurita

Aurelia is commonly referred to as Moon jellyfish. This is the most common species of jellyfish. It is also known as common jellyfish or saucer jellyfish. New species are discovered everyday and there is no count of the many species that belong to this genus. Moon jellyfish can also refer to all jellyfish in the genus Aurelia. Jellyfish are very similar to each other and can be differentiated only genetically.

Moon jellyfish can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -6 degrees C and 31 degrees C. their optimum temperature range is between 9 degrees C and 19 degrees C. They survive best in water with high salinity levels and can also withstand salinity as low as 0.6%.

Moon jellyfish are most commonly found in warm and temperate waters, mostly in coastal regions. They are most abundant in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. They thrive in the waters of the world between 70 degrees N and 40 degrees S. They not only inhabit inland seas but also survive in brackish water.

The bell of the moon jellyfish or the medusa can range anywhere in between 5 to 40 cm in size. It usually has a pattern of stripes or spots and is translucent. The visible four horseshoe shaped gonads is the simplest way to identify a moon jellyfish. In brackish waters the bell of the moon jelly fish is flattened. This is due to the decreased in the level of salinity. This species of jellyfish also has both oral arms and tentacles to help in its feeding process. This is not a common feature in jellyfish.

Moon jellyfish of all ages contain venom filled nematocysts on their tentacles. This helps them capture food by stinging their victim and trapping in within mucus. They are carnivorous and feed on plankton like mollusks, crustaceans and copepods. They also consume zooplankton like hydromedusae and ctenophores.

Jellyfish are dependant on the tides and currents of the water to keep them suspended and for help in horizontal movement. They are only capable of an upward thrust on their own. Moon jellyfish travel with the tides and are usually found on the surface of the water. As they tend to stay close to the surface they get eaten by marine birds. Moon jellyfish are fed upon in big numbers by large fish and sea turtles.

The moon jellyfish sting is not fatal but can cause discomfort in humans. A rash is developed around the area of the sting and is usually itchy with a burning sensation in severe cases.

Moon jellyfish have both the male and the female species. They reproduce sexually. Around spring and summer of each year they are most likely to be sexually mature.

A lot of specimens of this species have been kept and bred in aquariums. Moon Jellyfish are the most commonly kept species of jellyfish, both in public aquariums and by serious hobbyists. If you have ever visited a jellyfish aquarium then you probably would have seen a moon jellyfish.

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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