The Aquarium is currently open to the public. In response to COVID-19, we’ve made some essential changes to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
The Atlantic bay nettle has two color varieties; in the upper Chesapeake Bay, the white variety is most prevalent, and closer to the Atlantic Ocean, this jelly can have a white, red or brown coloration. Nettles populate the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries primarily from July through September, though some individuals can be present into November.
A Note from the Caretaker
In the summertime, these nettles can migrate into Baltimore's Inner Harbor and are visible in the water along the piers just outside the Aquarium.
Learn more about the Atlantic bay nettle! Did you know that these jellies, commonly found in the Chesapeake Bay, were known as Atlantic sea nettles until 2017? Researchers proved through DNA testing that these bay-based invertebrates are a separate species: the Atlantic bay nettle.
Atlantic bay nettles are found in brackish waters of coastal bays along the East Coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico, from New England to Texas. These jellies can thrive in very low salinities, as well as salt water.
Atlantic bay nettles feed on zooplankton, worms, mosquito larvae, fish eggs, juvenile crustaceans and other jellies.
The Atlantic bay nettle's bell can grow up to 7 inches wide.
Atlantic bay nettles are common in the Chesapeake Bay in the summer months and into fall.
Sea turtles, ocean sunfish, larger jellies and even birds are predators of the Atlantic bay nettle.