Cannonball Jellyfish (Stomolophus Melagris)
Saturday, February 26, 2011
It gets its name from its similarity to cannonball in both size and shape. Its bell is shaped in the form of a dome that looks like a cannonball. It can go as big as 10’ in diameter. Its rim is colored with a brown pigment in many specimens. It has a group of oral arms under its body. These arms are used for propulsion and also help in catching prey. They are usually found in North America eastern seaboard and go on to Brazil.
Their reproduction process is like other jellyfish. They can go for both sexual as well as asexual reproduction. They reproduce sexually when they are in medusa state, and asexually when they are in polyp state. And once the polyp state is over, they return to the medusa state and reproduce sexually.
If these jellyfish feel disturbed, they will secrete a toxic mucous. This toxin can kill small fish. It is a defense mechanism to scare away predators. But this toxin works only on small fish and crabs. Though this toxin is not strong enough to kill humans, but if it is not treated properly, it can lead to cardiac problems. If the toxin gets in contact with eyes, it can be painful and can lead to redness and puffiness.
These jellyfish are most commonly found in warm waters. The temperature should not be more than 2o C. Cannonball jellyfish flourish the most in spring and summer seasons and form more than 16% of the biomass of where they live. They feed on zooplankton and polluted shore areas adversely affect the zooplankton, thereby adversely affecting these jellyfish. They can be kept in home and office aquariums.
Cannonball jellyfish have more muscles than other types of jellyfish. They are also known to be better swimmers. Because they have a lot of protein in their body, they are more nutritious, and are thus a delicacy in Japan. They are also becoming popular all over the world. They are used as medicines in Asia to control blood pressure and to sooth arthritic pain.
Their demand has risen in the international market, and many fishermen want to catch them. They usually occur in schools of thousands of jellyfish. Extensive fishing has caused a risk to their existence.
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