This jelly's bell can be white to dark purple/red, with dark lines radiating from the top of the bell. The species derives its name from the Greek words melas and aster, which translates to "black star" in reference to the pattern on its bell.
Although not very venomous, their sting can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Their nematocysts (i.e., stinging cells) 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 on giant specimens
Pacific Ocean, from Japan north to the Bering Sea
In the past, jelly populations were kept in check by predators like 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.
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 percent water and an adult leatherback can weigh more than 2,000 pounds, one turtle can consume a lot of jellies.
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