2-17-12 Japanese Sea Nettle from Ron’s Animal Attraction Series (Exhibit)

Phylum Cnidaria, Class Scyphozoa, Order Semaeostomea, Family Pelagiidae 

Chrysaora melanaster

DISTRIBUTION: Bering Sea, northern Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans

HABITAT: Ocean surface to 200 meters below  the surface.

APPEARANCE: Their bells are 12 in across white with brown-to-orange stripes, containing up to 32 very long orange-red tentacles and four long lips. They have 16 brown stripes and eight stomach pouches.

DIET: Sea nettles snare prey (fishes, jellies, krill, other small invertebrates) with stinging tentacles that can stretch 6 m (20 ft).

REPRODUCTION: Alternation of life cycles—polyp, medusa.   The drifting jellies shown here represents just one phase of a sea nettle’s life. As adults pulsing through the water, these jellies reproduce sexually. But in another stage of life, on the seafloor, they reproduce without sex.

When spawning, adult sea nettles release clouds of sperm and tens of thousands of eggs a day. Their larvae sink and become polyps (like mini anemones) carpeting the seafloor. As they grow, each polyp buds off asexually producing scores of tiny identical jellies and will become sexual adults.

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REF. 1. California academy of Sciences Animal Attractions Exhibit

         2. Shedd Aquarium Fact Sheet