Spotted Lagoon Jelly, Mastigias papua
These spotted jellies have rounded bells and strange clumps of oral arms with club-like appendages that hang down below.
These jellies love the sunlight, which fuels the growth of symbiotic algae in their tissues, giving them a greenish-brown to blue color in the wild. They harvest some of their food directly from the algae.
Instead of a single mouth, they have many small mouth openings on their oral arms.
Did You Know?
Instead of a single mouth, this jelly has many small mouth openings on its oral arms, which capture plankton.
Bell can be up to 6 inches wide
Bays, harbors, and lagoons in the South Pacific Ocean
In the past, jelly populations were kept in check by predators like sea turtles and jelly-eating fish. Due to the reduction of their predators, jelly populations are growing at alarming rates.
Sea turtles and other jelly-eating animals, such as tuna, sunfish, butterfish, and spiny dogfish, keep the jelly populations in balance. All seven species of sea turtles include them in their diets. The largest sea turtle species, the leatherback, depends on jellies for food. Because jellies are more than 90% water and an adult leatherback can weigh more than 2,000 pounds, one turtle can consume a lot of jellies.
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