Moon Jellyfish Facts

The moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) is a standard jelly that’s simply acknowledged by its 4 horseshoe-shaped gonads, that are seen via the highest of its translucent bell. The species will get its frequent identify for the best way its pale bell resembles a full moon.

Quick Information: Moon Jellyfish

  • Scientific Title: Aurelia aurita
  • Frequent Names: Moon jellyfish, moon jelly, frequent jellyfish, saucer jelly
  • Fundamental Animal Group: Invertebrate
  • Dimension: 10-16 inches
  • Lifespan: 6 months as an grownup
  • Weight-reduction plan: Carnivore
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical oceans
  • Inhabitants: Plentiful
  • Conservation Standing: Not Evaluated


The moon jellyfish has a translucent 10 to 16 inch bell with a fringe of brief tentacles. The tentacles are lined with nematocysts (stinging cells). Most moon jellies have 4 horseshoe-shaped gonads (reproductive organs), however a couple of have three or 5. The bell and gonads could also be translucent white, pink, blue, or purple, relying on the animal’s food regimen. The jellyfish has 4 fringed oral arms which can be longer than its tentacles.

Habitat and Vary

The species lives in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. It is not uncommon alongside the Atlantic coast of North America and Europe. Moon jellyfish frequent coastal and epipelagic areas (high layer of the ocean) and may survive the decrease salinity of estuaries and bays.

Weight-reduction plan and Habits

The moon jellyfish is a carnivore that feeds on zooplankton, together with protozoa, diatoms, eggs, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms. The jelly shouldn’t be a powerful swimmer, primarily utilizing its brief tentacles to remain close to the water floor. Plankton get trapped within the mucus coating the animal and handed by way of cilia into its oral cavity for digestion. Moon jellyfish take up their very own tissue and shrink if they’re starved. They develop to their regular measurement when meals turns into obtainable.

Though water currents group jellyfish collectively, they reside solitary lives. Scientists consider jellyfish might talk with each other utilizing chemical compounds launched into the water.

The jellyfish life cycle contains each sexual and asexual phases.
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Pictures

Replica and Offspring

The jellyfish life cycle has a sexual and asexual part. Every grownup (referred to as a medusa) is both male or feminine. Within the open ocean, jellyfish launch sperm and eggs into the water. Fertilized eggs develop and develop within the water as planula for a couple of days earlier than attaching to the ocean flooring and rising into polyps. The polyp resembles an the other way up medusa. Polyps asexually bud off clones that turn into mature medusae.

Within the wild, Aurelia jellyfish reproduce for a number of months. Close to the tip of summer season, they turn out to be inclined to illness and tissue harm from the exertion of copy and diminishing meals provides. Most moon jellyfish most likely reside about six months, though captive specimens might reside a few years. Just like the “immortal jellyfish” (Turritopsis dohrnii), the moon jellyfish can bear lifecycle reversal, basically rising youthful quite than older.

Conservation Standing

The IUCN has not evaluated the moon jelly for a conservation standing. The jellyfish are considerable, with grownup populations spiking or “blooming” in July and August.

The moon jellyfish thrives in water containing a decrease than regular focus of dissolved oxygen. Dissolved oxygen drops in response to elevated temperature or air pollution. Jellyfish predators (leatherback turtles and ocean sunfish) can’t tolerate the identical circumstances, are topic to overfishing and local weather change, and should die after they mistakenly eat floating plastic baggage that resemble jellies.Thus, jellyfish numbers are anticipated to develop.

Moon jellyfish blooms in summer season have environmental causes and penalties.
Michael Nolan / Getty Pictures

Moon Jellyfish and People

Moon jellyfish are consumed as meals, particularly in China. The species is of concern as a result of an overabundance of the jellies considerably decreases plankton ranges.

Folks ceaselessly encounter moon jellyfish due to their abundance and desire for coastal waters. These jellyfish do sting, however their venom is gentle and regarded innocent. Any clinging tentacles could also be rinsed off with salt water. The venom might then be deactivated with warmth, vinegar, or baking soda.


  • Arai, M. N. A Practical Biology of Scyphozoa. London: Chapman and Corridor. pp. 68–206, 1997. ISBN 978-0-412-45110-2.
  • He, J.; Zheng, L.; Zhang, W.; Lin, Y. “Life Cycle Reversal in Aurelia sp.1 (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa)”. PLoS ONE. 10 (12): e0145314, 2015. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145314
  • Hernroth, L. and F. Grondahl. On the Biology of Aurelia Aurita. Ophelia. 22(2):189-199, 1983.
  • Shoji, J.; Yamashita, R.; Tanaka, M. “Impact of low dissolved oxygen concentrations on conduct and predation charges on fish larvae by moon jellyfish Aurelia aurita and by a juvenile piscivore, Spanish mackerel Scomberomorus niphonius.” Marine Biology. 147 (4): 863–868, 2005. doi:10.1007/s00227-005-1579-8
  • Solomon, E. P.; Berg, L. R.; Martin, W. W. Biology (sixth ed.). London: Brooks/Cole. pp. 602–608, 2002. ISBN 978-0-534-39175-1.


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