Spotted Lagoon Jellyfish

Spotted Lagoon Jelly

Mastigias papua

DID YOU KNOW?

Instead of a single mouth, this jelly has many small mouth openings on its oral arms, which capture plankton.

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

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Spotted Lagoon Jelly

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.

Diet

Zooplankton

Size

Bell can be up to 6 inches wide

Range

Bays, harbors, and lagoons in the South Pacific Ocean

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

Most jellies stop feeding when they get old and begin to shrink. When we acquire new lagoon jellies to display, we request the largest specimens possible, because if we bring in small animals, we can’t be sure if they are still growing or shrinking down. To ensure that a shrinking animal is feeding, aquarists will use a household turkey baster to place food items closer to a swimming jelly.