JellyFish Facts

Cannonball Jellyfish

Cannonball Jellyfish picture

Cannonball Jellyfish

The Cannonball Jellyfish is a member of the Stomolophidae jellyfish species family. This jellyfish gets its name from the cannonball style shape and sized of its body. The cannonball jellyfish has a dome-shaped body which can reach up to 25cm or 10 inches in its diameter and has a rim which can sometimes be colored with a brown or red tinge with the body of the jellyfish itself usually being a milky brown or yellow color. When looking under the body of this jellyfish you will see a cluster of oral arms which extend out around the jellyfishes mouth. These arms primarily exist to propel the jellyfish through the water and to help it catch prey. These jellyfish can be found most commonly from North Americas eastern seaboard right through to Brazil.

Cannonball jellyfish enjoy living in warm, estuarine waters which are around the temperature of 23.1 degrees Celsius with an average salt level of 33.8 parts per thousand. On the south east American coast these jellyfish are rather prominent in the fall and the summer months. It is during these months in which cannonball jellyfish are over 16% of the biomass found in the shallow inshore areas of the waters.

These jellyfish have a diet which mainly consists of zooplankton and red drum larvae. When the cannonball jellyfish is disrupted it will secrete toxic mucus which will harm any small fish which are located in the immediate vicinity of the jellyfish. This secretion drives away most of the predators but is ineffective against some species of crabs. Humans are relatively safe when it comes to being stung by cannonball jellyfish as they do not usually sting people but if a human is stung by this jellyfish the toxin may still cause heart complications with the same result if another animal is stung. As with all jellyfish though it is not recommended that humans purposely disturb or irritate the cannonball jellyfish in any intentional way or by any means.

There are creatures which prey on the cannonball jellyfish. One of these creatures is the endangered Leather bark Sea turtle which feed on the cannonball jellyfish from April to early summer when migrating from the Caribbean to head north. Another predator of the cannonball jellyfish is the human being. We commercially harvest these jellyfish as a source of food in many restaurants mainly in the Asian regions. It is the high nutrient and protein content of this jellyfish that makes it such a good food source especially in the poorer areas where low protein availability in the diet is a prevalent problem. The jellyfish is eaten as a delicacy in Japan and has also played an important role in traditional Asian medicines for thousands of years and continue to do so.

These jellyfish are rather interesting to look at, looking somewhat like a mushroom floating in the water. There are even some people who would have these jellyfish in their own fish tanks at home and are keeping them as family pets or office pets. If you would like to learn more about these and many other jellyfish species please visit Jellyfish Species List.

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Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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