Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Spotted Jellyfish

Beautiful yellow spotted jellyfish
Spotted Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Credit: Adrian
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Scyphozoa
Order: Rhizostomeae
Family: Mastigiidae
Genus: Mastigias
Species: Mastigias papua
Conservation Status: Not threatened

The beautiful spotted jellyfish is a widely distributed species of jelly that occurs throughout the Indian Ocean, China Sea to Japan, and outward over the Pacific to the Fiji Islands.

It is also known as the "lagoon jelly" because it occurs in bays, harbors and lagoons. Some other common names it comes by are the golden medusa and the Papuan jellyfish.

M. Papua is a relatively small jelly, with a translucent,usually hemispherical bell with a diameter ranging from 3 to 8 cm. The lagoon jelly has 8 frilled oral arms, rather than tentacles, that have a length that is more or less equal to the bell-radius.
Mastigias papua the spotted jellyfish
Spotted Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia

The mouth arms are divided into two sections. A simple upper part, which is about 1.5 times as long as the 3 winged lower part of the arm. These arms end in a club-like filament that has a triangular cross section, though this is absent in some species. Each oral arm has mouths on the club, as well as along the length towards the bell.

The species exhibits significant color variation, although the bell typically is greenish blue to olive green with yellow, white, and/or brown oval, granular spots across the rim. This coloration is probably the result of zooxanthallae that live symbiotically within the spotted jellyfish.

Interestingly, some of the larger individuals have small fish living within them. These fish use the interior of the jelly's bell as protection from larger predators until they reach maturity.

In daytime, the spotted jelly travels upwards, orienting its body to absorb maximum sunlight. It does so to allow the symbiotic zooxanthellae to access the sunlight. When the sun starts to set, the spotted jellyfish sinks deeper in the sea.

More Videos And Images

A smack of spotted jellyfish
Credit: Public Domain
A large smack of spotted jellyfish
Credit: Public Domain
A single, yellow lagoon jellyfish
Credit: George Berninger Jr.
Beautiful photo of a white spotted jellyfish
Credit: Captmondo

Damaged Spotted Jellyfish

Spotted Jellyfish In Aquarium

- Mastigias papua at Animal Diversity Web

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