JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Habitat

Jellyfish Habitat picture

Jellyfish Habitat

Jellyfish are beautiful and mesmerizing creatures that inhabit all the marine waters of the world. There are more than 2000 species of jellyfish and they are spread across all the seas and oceans in the world, from the cold Arctic to the warm tropical seas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Different species of jellyfish exist at all different levels of water, from the surface to the very depths. Jellyfish are extremely fragile creature with only 5% or less of solid organic matter in their bodies and require very specific conditions to thrive in.

A number of jellyfish, especially the small and inconspicuous ones, are often found in habitats near the coastline, like harbors, quiet bays and estuaries. Species like the blue blubber and lagoon jellyfish are very interesting in that they form a symbiotic relationship with a uni-cellular alga called zooxanthellae which resides on the body of the jellyfish on the underside of its belly. The algae are photosynthetic in nature and can create nourishment from the energy of the sunlight. The jellyfish also rely on this nourishment and to facilitate this process of photosynthesis, they are always found close to the surface of the water. The mangrove jellyfish, or the upside down jellyfish, which is found in the roots of mangroves in the southern Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and other tropical waters prefers making its habitat in shallow water, so that it can settle on the surface of the waterbed upside down and allow the algae as much access to sunlight as possible.

On the other hand, jellyfish from the order Siphonophorae, are usually found creating a habitat in mid water level, although they are known to appear at the surface of the water occasionally, and in some cases, frequently. These species of jellyfish are capable of vertical movement and different species are equipped with different apparatus to facilitate this movement. In most cases, a jellyfish is able to thrust water out from under its body to get an upward push which it uses to raise to the surface of the water. One popular jellyfish from the Siphomnophorae order is the Portuguese Man o' war.

Deep-sea habitats below 1000 meters support a splendid array of cnidarian jellies and ctenophores that thrive in the cold, dark depths. The popular jellyfish Lion's Mane or Cyanea capillat is also called the winter jelly because it can only be found in the harsh freezing waters of the Arctic ocean in the coldest months of the year.

While almost all jellyfish inhabit only the marine waters of the world, there is one species of jellyfish which has its habitat in fresh waters. The freshwater jellyfish or Craspedacusta sowerbyi belongs to the phylum Cnidaria and belongs to the class Hydrozoa. It originated in South America in the Amazonian forests and are currently found on all continents of the world, except perhaps Africa. The freshwater jellyfish usually tends to get transported along with shipments of plants and animals and finds itself in a new habitat. Freshwater jellyfish can be found in freshwater lakes, reservoirs, man-made impoundments, water-filled gravel pits, rock quarries, algae-filled ponds, and rivers.

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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