Go out-of-this-word just by visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach! With thousands of jellies surrounding you, backlit and color-changing displays, and some of the most fascinating animals on Earth, this transfixing gallery is sure to mesmerize.
Moon jellies are a translucent white and beautiful to watch, easily identified by the four moon shapes on their medusa. Moon jellies are made almost entirely of water and can live up to 25 years old!
These calming creatures range from two to 15 inches in diameter, but can shrink to one-tenth in size if they are deprived of food. By getting smaller they are able to save energy. Don’t worry! They grow back once they eat again, chowing down on plankton, shrimp, fish eggs, and larval crabs.
Did you know that moon jelly tentacles are poisonous to small marine animals but not to people?
JAPANESE SEA NETTLE
Japanese sea nettles, also called Pacific sea nettles, are the largest jellies in Planet Jellies. They have beautiful colors and are wonderful to watch and they move up and down. They can travel as much as one mile a single day!
Their medusa, or umbrella dome, can get up to 24 inches in length and their tentacles can grow up to ten feet long! At depths of about 330 feet, they feed on small fish, large zooplankton, and even other jellyfish.
The sting of a Japanese sea nettle is rather mild, but still causes burning, so its best to avoid these beauties!
SPOTTED LAGOON JELLY
The spotted lagoon jelly is commonly found in lagoons, harbors, and bays. They can grow up to six inches wide and they love to eat zooplankton. Perhaps they love to eat because they do not have a single mouth, rather multiple tiny mouth openings on their arms!
Spotted lagoon jellies also act as bodyguards. Some of the larger jellies will have small fish living with them, using the jelly’s bell shape as protection from larger creatures. Once they reach maturity the fish move along.
These jellies also love sunlight! During the day they travel upward to catch some rays!
ATLANTIC SEA NETTLE
Smaller than the Japanese sea nettle, the Atlantic sea nettle still packs a punch! The sting of these beautiful creatures can be severe and even deadly. The Atlantic sea nettle is common in New England all the way down to Brazil, so be aware!
The mouth of the Atlantic sea nettle is located at the center of one end of their body. Their diet consists of minnows, anchovy eggs, mosquito larvae, and worms.
A pale pinkish or yellowish color, they have a much greater color variation than other species.
The brownish color you notice on upside-down jellies is actually algae that lives inside their tissue! They grow up to 12 inches wide and eat with hundreds of mouths that are found on the edges of their eight oral arms.
The upside-down jelly is very social and rarely found alone, flipping upside-down and laying on the ocean floor next to their buddies! By laying upside-down, the jelly can expose its algae to the sun, which allows it to photosynthesize, which is how this jelly gets their nourishment. Because of this, they prefer to lay in shallow areas, like mangrove swaps or sea grass beds, for stronger sun exposure.