Showing posts tagged as "jellies"
Have you seen these awesome thimble jellies (Linuche aquila) in the Jellies Experience?
Sometimes we import our jellies, and sometimes, well, we get lucky: these were grown from polyps that our clever aquarists discovered on rocks in our tropical exhibits.
The medusae (bell) of thimble jellies grow and harvest algae, called zooxanthellae, for sustenance. That’s brown coloration you see in the photos. In nature, these jellies collect in bunches at the surface. Their polyps live in long chitonous tubes, which is very different from the typical fixed jellyfish polyp.
But beware: Thimble jellies are also responsible for “sea bathers eruption” in tropical climes, such as the Caribbean. When the jellies spawn and their larvae form, they get stuck in skin or bathing suits, with unpleasant results!
Fluorescent fireworks or otherworldly hovercraft? Flower hat jellies defy definition. This nocturnal species drifts in the dark and attaches to the seafloor as the sun shines. Their dazzling bells attract curious fish, while curly tentacles ensnare prey. Thanks to Instagrammer @sandman617 for this vivid video!
Going somewhere? Juvenile cancer crabs hitch rides on sea nettles, dropping off as jellies get closer to shore. It’s the beach or bust for these travelers! Thanks to Instagrammer @reesies87 for this fun video!
How do you grow a jelly? Our clever aquarists have figured it out. We were the first ones ever to display these surreal South American sea nettles after growing them behind the scenes from tiny ephyrae (babies), received from a lab in Argentina. On exhibit in the Jellies Experience!
Learn more about the Jellies Experience
#ThrowbackThursday: A Ferris wheel for jellies? Over the last 30 years we’ve displayed dozens of delicate jelly species. Special tanks—called kreisels—create circular currents to keep jellies afloat and away from walls.
Help us innovate and inspire for another 30 years
Sun seeker? During the day, the spotted jelly travels upward, orienting itself for maximum sun exposure. It’s also known as a “lagoon jelly” because it lives in bays, harbors and lagoons in the South Pacific. But you don’t need to go that far—they’re on exhibit now in the Jellies Experience!
Learn more about the spotted jelly
Learn more about the Jellies Experience
Nature’s Fireworks: We Discover the Flower Hat Jelly Life Cycle
Some things are worth waiting for – even if it takes 12 years.
Our jelly biologists have discovered the elusive life cycle of Olindias formosus – the stunning flower hat jelly, whose multicolored, fluorescent-tipped tentacles are like a living fireworks show.
The flower hat jelly was first discovered in waters off Japan over 100 years ago, but its life cycle was a mystery. Biologists around the world have been eager to exhibit this gorgeous jelly, but were unable to culture it to adulthood. Now, after 12 years of research, we solved the mystery, and you can see them in The Jellies Experience special exhibition.
“We’re thrilled to discover the life cycle of the flower hat jelly,” said Senior Aquarist Wyatt Patry. “Our team succeeded through collaboration, diligence and a bit of good luck.”
Our discovery could lead to predicting dangerous jelly “blooms” in the wild. The flower hat jelly packs a powerful sting, enabling it to kill and eat fish – and harm humans. Blooms of hundreds or thousands of these jellies off Japan and Brazil have resulted in injuries to many beachgoers, and at least one death, Patry said.
About the Flower Hat Jelly
Found in coastal waters off southern Japan, Brazil and Argentina, and in the Mediterranean, the flower hat jelly has brilliant tentacles trailing from its translucent, pinstriped bell. Another set of curly tentacles under its bell can quickly unfurl and grab prey. This nocturnal species swims in the water column at night and attaches itself to the seafloor during the day.
Our work to understand the life cycle of this mysterious jelly began in 2002 during the Jellies: Living Art special exhibition, which ran from 2002 to 2008. That team was the first to successfully exhibit flower hat jellies in the United States, and culture fertilized eggs and larvae – another first.
Shining a Light on an Amazing Life Cycle
Patry said the current team’s initial breakthrough occurred with a redesigned exhibit that let flower hat jellies capture and eat live fish and kept them away from debris on the bottom. Patry said the team hoped those conditions would encourage successful reproduction – and they did.
Special blue lighting in the exhibit was the next breakthrough. The flower hat jellies, which are fluorescent, are in a gallery that interprets three different types of “lights” in certain jellies – fluorescence, bioluminescence and diffraction. About six months after putting a batch of flower hat jellies on exhibit, Patry noticed two previously unseen stages of their life cycle – polyps and tiny baby jellies.
“I was only able to see them because they are fluorescent, like the adults,” Patry said. “From there we worked with the polyps to refine the ideal food and temperature requirements for them to produce more babies.”
Behold our amazing South American sea nettles! Enjoy these bright beauties all day with our free wallpaper for your computer or smartphone.
Look, but don’t touch! These delicate-looking jelly relatives are siphonophores, related to the notorious Portuguese man-of-war. Each comprises a floating colony, with specialized individuals to sting, eat, or just swim.
Get a closer look at these unusual drifters and more in the Open Sea
Did you know that the bell jelly is not a true jelly but rather a “hydromedusa?” Usually smaller than true jellies and not as colorful, they have translucent bells and 100 or more wispy tentacles, and red ocelli, or eyespots, which are sensitive to light.
Bell jellies also remain in dark, deep waters during the day and come to the surface at night, and spends about half their time near the seafloor, where they feed on small bottom-dwelling creatures.
Bell jellies used to be abundant in bays and estuaries along the West Coast. But their nearshore seafloor homes have been disturbed by dredging, urbanization and pollution runoff. Jelly populations, especially hydromedusae, are declining in heavily impacted coastal areas.