JellyFish Facts

Purple Jellyfish

Purple Jellyfish picture

Purple Jellyfish

The purple jellyfish or purple-stripped jellyfish is only found along the Californian coastline and has never been spotted in any other location in the world. They were considered to belong to the 'Pelagia' genus and were called Pelagia Colorata, derived from the greek words 'pelagia' meaning 'of the sea' and 'colorata' meaning 'color'. They are so called because their radiant stripes so add a fascinating dash of color to the blue green waters of the oceans. However, some revision, based on their morphological characteristics, has placed this species in the 'Chrysaora' genus and they are now known as 'Chrysaora Colorata'.

The bell of the purple jellyfish can up to 70 centimeter in diameter in size. It is usually streaked with a radial pattern of purple stripes. However, this is only during the adult phase of the purple jellyfish. What is fascinating about the jellyfish is that at different stages of its life, its appearance tends to change quite dramatically.

When the jellyfish are extremely young, the bell of the purple jellyfish is pinkish in color and does not have the dramatic stripes that characterize the adults. The tentacles of the very young purple jellyfish are long and dark and have a dark maroon color. As the purple jellyfish grows older and becomes a young adult, develop long, frilly oral arms that can look very impressive. These oral arms can attain the sixe of 4 to 5 meters in length. As the purple jellyfish matures into a full grown adult, the purple stripes appear along the bell and the color of the tentacles starts to diminish until they are almost colorless. As the jellyfish grow older, the tentacles become thick and pale and the oral arms of the jellyfish disappear.

The purple jellyfish usually has four flowing tentacles at the margin of its body. It also has eight sensory rhopalia which alternate with the tentacles. While the rhopalia senses external stimuli and can detect changes in light, odor, pressure, etc., the tentacles are equipped with stingers. The tentacles have numerous nematocysts along their sides and can deliver a very painful sting. Purple jellyfish depend upon their tentacles to kill or paralyze their prey and deliver it to their mouths. Purple jellyfish usually feed up on a wide variety of zooplankton including copepods, larval fish, ctenophores, salps, other scyphomedusa, and fish eggs. Purple jellyfish are known to be bred in captivity and can be found displayed in public aquariums.

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Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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