JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Eating Habits

Jellyfish Eating Habits picture

Jellyfish Eating Habits

The jellyfish is a fascinating creature which inhabits the oceans of the world, and belongs to the animal kingdom. It is classified under the Scyphozoa class, and Cnidaria phylum. They are recognized by their blubbery appearance, and tentacles. There are 200 species of these creatures and they come in all colors, shapes and sizes. They are found at all depths of the ocean and in various temperatures.

Jellyfish is a carnivorous creature. Some types of jellyfish can only drift along in the ocean current, with its tentacles spread out, to capture food. These types of jellyfish are passive hunters and will eat mainly zooplankton, crustaceans and eggs and larvae of other marine creatures, that gets trapped in their tentacles. These jellies usually have sticky tentacles and will wait for some food to get trapped in their tentacles.

The other types of jellyfish have a better swimming ability and can hunt aggressively for their food. These types have a strong venom in their tentacles, and can either stun or kill their prey with it. These jellyfish will eat small fishes, crustaceans and other jellyfish as well. Jellyfish like the Lion's mane is known to devour the moon jelly, as big as itself.

The jellyfish are voracious eaters and will eat whenever food is available. They can eat huge amounts of plankton and in some places, where they are in profusion, they can seriously deplete this marine food. Many areas in the ocean have seen an increase in the jellyfish population, and this may be due to warming of the oceans, and over-fishing of creatures that compete for the same food as the jellyfish.

The jellyfish which is starting its life as a polyp, attached to a solid substance on the ocean floor, will eat the passing plankton that it catches in the hair near its mouth. It will keep filtering micro-organisms that pass by, and eat them. Once if matures into a young jelly and starts floating around, it will use the tentacles to capture bigger prey like crustaceans and small fish.

The stomach of a jellyfish is a big gastrovascular cavity, and it can consume a good amount of food when it is hungry. Once the prey is trapped in the tentacles, the jellyfish will maneuver the prey towards its mouth and ingest it whole. Jellyfish do not have teeth or any other munching mechanism and the food is swallowed and digested whole. The lining of the cavity helps the digestion to take place and the nutrients are sent to the different tissues via different canals that are intertwining the body of a jellyfish.

Copepods are tiny marine animals, and are crustaceans, that inhabit all the oceans. They are to be found in huge numbers, and are impossible to count. The jellyfish main diet is these creatures and it helps to keep a check on their numbers. If left unchecked these copepods can play havoc on the marine environment and cause an imbalance in the food chain. The jellyfish comes to the rescue in this matter, by feeding on these creatures in huge quantities, and thus maintaining a balance in the food chain.

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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