This jelly has a light-colored bell with dark orange lines radiating from the top that create a sunburst pattern. Although they share a similar appearance, Japanese sea nettles are not to be confused with the much larger northern sea nettle, which lives in the Bering Sea.
Japanese sea nettles are not very venomous, but their sting can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Their stinging cells—known as nematocysts—are powerful, capable of causing serious skin irritation and burning sensations.
Did You Know?
This jelly's tentacles can grow to a length of 10 feet.
Zooplankton, including small crustaceans and other jellies
Bell can be up to 12 inches wide; tentacles can extend as long as 10 feet
Southwest Pacific Ocean around Japan in subtropical waters
In the past, jelly populations were kept in check by predators such as sea turtles and jelly-eating fish. Due to the reduction of these predators, jelly populations are growing at alarming rates. There are some concerns that this species is beginning to expand its range farther north, and will out-compete commercially important fish species, such as herring and juvenile salmon, for the tiny food they both consume.
Jelly-eating animals—including sea turtles, tuna, sunfish, butterfish and spiny dogfish—keep jelly populations in balance. All seven species of sea turtles include jellies in their diets. The largest sea turtle species, the leatherback, depends on jellies for food. Jellies are more than 90 percent water and an adult leatherback can weigh more than 2,000 pounds, so one turtle can consume a lot of jellies!
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