LIVE WEBCAM WITH JELLYFISH - MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM
More info: Pacific sea nettles (also called west coast sea nettles) are found in the Pacific ocean’s open waters, ranging from Alaska to Japan, and from California (and sometimes Mexico) to Canada. They are an important part of the ocean ecosystem serving as prey for marine birds, sea turtles, fish, and even marine mammals. Scientists also believe these jellyfish may serve as both a vehicle and a food source for hitchhiking larval and juvenile crabs that can withstand or avoid the stinging tentacles.
Pacific sea nettles start out life as tiny eggs that hatch and grow into free swimming larvae called planula. Once they reach this stage, the female jellyfish releases the larvae into the ocean where they drift until they are able to attach themselves to a solid surface. From there, through a process called budding, they make identical copies of themselves and the cloned polyps are released into the ocean. As they develop and grow they produce their distinct bells, arms, and tentacles. An adult jellyfish is called a medusa, named after the mythological creature they resemble.
The Pacific sea nettle spreads out its tentacles like a large net, to catch food as it passes by. When prey brushes up against the tentacles, thousands of nematocysts launch barbed stingers into the prey releasing a paralyzing toxin. The oral arms then begin digestion as they transport the prey into the sea nettle’s mouth. Jellyfish digest their food very quickly as they would be unable to float otherwise. The sea nettle mouth is an opening for both ingesting food and releasing waste.
Pacific sea nettles are very popular in displays at public aquariums due to their bright colours and relatively easy maintenance. It is possible to establish polyps and culture these jellyfish in captivity. When provided appropriate aquarium conditions, the medusae do well in captivity.