Purple Striped Jellyfish

Purple-Striped Jelly

Chrysaora colorata

DID YOU KNOW?

Young crabs are often found hitching a ride in this jelly’s bell.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Jellies Invasion: Oceans Out of Balance

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Purple-Striped Jelly

This jelly has a white bowl-shaped bell with 16 purple stripes, and very long tentacles.

Young crabs are often found hitching a ride in this jelly's bell. This is a symbiotic relationship—by eating parasitic amphipods that damage the jelly, the crabs get a free meal, and the jelly gets a free cleaning.

Diet

Zooplankton, including copepods, larval fish, ctenophores, salps, other jellies, and fish eggs

Size

Bell can be up to 3 feet wide, and tentacles can extend as long as 25 feet on giant specimens.

Range

Found primarily off the coast of California

Population Status

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.

Predators

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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A Note From the Caretaker

The purple-striped jellies can be difficult for us to obtain for display, so if needed we will switch the tank to another species, such as the local lion’s mane jelly. Before adding new animals, we clean and disinfect the tank to remove unsightly algae, stinging hydroids (another stinging invertebrate), or polyps from the previous species, which may harm the delicate tissues of the new jellies.