JellyFish Facts

Do Jellyfish Eat?

Do Jellyfish Eat? picture

Do Jellyfish Eat?

Jellyfish is a bizarre, yet fascinating marine animal, which is found all over the oceans of the world. The gelatinous mass which forms the main body gives the creature its name. The body is usually domed or bell shaped and comes in various sizes, depending on the species of the jellyfish. There are 200 different varieties, ranging in different size, color and shape.

The basic structure of any jellyfish is the bell shaped body with tentacles hanging underneath. The absence of a brain and a solid skeletal structure, makes them appear quite weird. The bell body has an opening on the underside which is the mouth of the jellyfish. This mouth is directly connected to a gastrovascular cavity which serves as the stomach. The jellyfish is a carnivorous marine animal. Many of the species, just drift in the ocean and eat the things that are caught in their tentacles. Some of them can swim quite powerfully and actively chase their prey.

The jellyfish mainly feeds on the zooplankton, small fishes, eggs and larvae of other marine animals, snails and other invertebrates. Some of the species will also feed on other jellies, and large crustaceans. Certain jellyfish are considered parasites and will be eating the hosts.

Certain jellies have a voracious appetite and are a cause of concern in certain parts of the world. The Phyllorhiza punctata or the spotted jellyfish is an invasive species which has come into the coastal waters of the northern parts of the Gulf of Mexico. They are actually a native of the Indo-Pacific region, and are known to have come to this area presumable by the polyp getting attached to the hull of a ship. The northern part of the Gulf of Mexico, has nutrient-rich waters and the temperature and salinity of the water is ideal for the spotted jellyfish. This has promoted a rapid growth of their population in these waters.

The spotted jellyfish is a filter feeder, that is it ingests huge amounts of water and filters the food in it. They are voracious eaters and consume the zooplankton at an alarming rate. They are known to eat at least a pound of zooplankton per day. They can strip the waters of these helpful marine organisms, and this affects other marine life. They also eat the eggs and larvae of commercial and recreational fish species, which causes a depletion in the population of these valuable fishes. They also eat the larvae of crabs, shrimps and oysters. These species are therefore vulnerable to predation by these jellyfish, and their numbers are decreasing. The cause of concern is that the abundance of these jellyfish in the particular areas is coinciding with the spawning location and the season of important fishes and shellfish. These biological resources are depleting at an alarming rate, as the jellyfish is feeding directly on the eggs and early stages of larvae of these rich resources. Also these larvae and fish eggs feed on the zooplankton, which again is being depleted by this jellyfish. These creates a competition for the food and the areas having larger population of spotted jellyfish, there is almost no zooplankton left.

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




Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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