Taxonomy Tuesday: Moon Jelly
Behold the eerie, translucent moon jelly.
Moon jellies live in oceans all over the world. Here in South Carolina, you may have seen one washed ashore or floating near the surface in a bay or estuary.
Moon jellies have a short fringe of tentacles rather than long trailing ones, but they still serve the same purpose as in other jellies – to capture and eat tiny crustaceans and mollusks.
This form is just one of several in the moon jelly’s life cycle. They start out as small, floating larvae; then they attach to the seafloor or a rock and grow into an anemone-like creature called a polyp. Finally, they emerge into miniature versions of the adult jelly.
This moon jelly (Aurelia sp.) came from an exhibit at the SC Aquarium and was photographed by the Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center (SERTC) at our Marine Center in Charleston.
See more images from SERTC's collections here.