Aurelia aurita, or the moon jellyfish, is a type of jellyfish that inhabits the shores of oceans worldwide. They are some of the most well- known jellyfish due to their small size and bioluminescence. The moon jellyfish is typically found in both shallow and deep waters, as well as in freshwater lakes and rivers.
Aurelia Aurita Characteristics
Aurelia Aurita Facts
The Aurelia aurita is a part of the family Ulmaridae. They are closely related to the sea nettles which also belong to the Ulmaridae family. The sea nettles are mainly red and orange with a yellow stomach. Unlike Aurelia aurita’s light blue color that spreads throughout their entire body.
Aurelia aurita and other Aurelia species consume plankton, which includes mollusks, crustaceans, tunicate larvae, rotifers, young polychaetes, protozoans, diatoms, shells, fish eggs, and other small creatures. They are sometimes seen feeding on gelatinous zooplankton such as hydromedusae and ctenophores. Formal paraphrase Aurelia adult medusae and larvae both have nematocysts to trap prey and defend themselves from predators.
Aurelia Aurita Habitat
Aurelia aurita can be found throughout the world’s oceans, but are most commonly found in the northern hemisphere. There is evidence that suggests that the moon jellyfish washes up on the shores of Florida during every full moon. This would be because of their bioluminescence properties. It may also be because there is a notable increase in currents during these full moons, which could carry Aurelia aurita and other creatures to the shoreline.
Due to their bioluminescence, the moon jellyfish can be found globally, but are most commonly found in the northern hemisphere. There is evidence that suggests that the moon jellyfish washes up on the shores of Florida during every full moon. This would be because of their bioluminescence properties. It may also be because there is a notable increase in currents during these full moons, which could carry Aurelia aurita and other creatures to the shoreline.
Like most jellyfish, the moon jellyfish is mainly made up of 95% water. The moon jellyfish is also made up of 96% protein and only 3% collagen. This makes the moon jellyfish a large source of food for other marine animals. Its main predators are salmon, which feeds on both adults and larvae of the Aurelia aurita.
Aurelia Aurita Reproduction, Lifecycle & Lifespan
Moon jellyfish live up to 12 to 18 months before they die off. They have a lifespan of about three months when they are born, so it’s important for them to reproduce often while they can. The female moon jellyfish can carry thousands of eggs, depending on how developed they are at the time.
Despite having many predators that prey on them, Aurelia aurita have a 95% reproduction rate within three months after being born. After only 12 months, the jellyfish will die off.
Aurelia aurita are bioluminescent organism
Aurelia aurita is known as a bioluminescent organism. It uses this ability to attract prey in the water that it can feed on. Aurelia aurita has millions of light-producing organs called photocytes, which give it its glowing blue color. A single Aurelia aurita contains over 20 million photocytes per milliliter of fluid, making them one of the most intensely luminescent organisms in the world.
The moon jellyfish is not the only jellyfish with bioluminescence. The fire jellies (Pyrosoma) on the other hand, use their bioluminescence to attract a variety of different fish species.
When Aurelia aurita is on a full moon and near an electrical current, it will glow more brightly and for longer than usual. When the moon jellyfish is close to a shoreline, it will also be able to be seen in the water more than usual on a full moon. This is because Aurelia aurita contains an enzyme called luciferase which emits light when tested.
Aurelia aurita have been known to have the ability to fluoresce twice as brightly on a full moon and are attracted to electrical currents as well. This phenomenon is due to a chemical reaction between luciferase, calcium ions, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Aurelia aurita Predators
The moon jellyfish is preyed upon heavily by the salmon. However, on occasion, the salmon will eat larvae or even adult moon jellies. Salmon are the Aurelia aurita’s primary predator. Salmon use their powerful sense of smell to locate Aurelia aurita as well as their taste buds. This is because the moon jellyfish have a bitter taste to them. One reason why the salmon eat Aurelia aurita is because they are at the top of the food chain that salmon are part of.
In addition, moon jellyfish are some of the most common prey for sea turtles. These sea turtles include Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, loggerhead, and leatherback sea turtle. Sea turtles feast on these jellyfish because they can be easily consumed when compared to other foods rich in protein such as squid or fish.
Moon jellyfish are also preyed upon by various fish species. However, numerous fish species will resort to cannibalism when they are hungry. To do this they will eat other forms of moon jellyfish that happen to be smaller than them. This is because Aurelia aurita is a large source of food for salmon and other fish species at the top of the food chain.
Like many other organisms, Aurelia aurita can be eaten by humans as well. However, unlike most organisms, Aurelia aurita is one of the few organisms that can be eaten in its entirety. Moon jellyfish have been consumed by humans in a variety of ways. They are used in dishes such as salads or sushi and recently, there is an Aurelia aurita farm in China that produces them for human consumption.
The moon jellyfish is hunted by capuchin monkeys to feed on at the Atlantic beaches of Brazil during the winter. This is because they are plentiful and easy prey.
Aurelia Aurita Do They Sting
How dangerous are moon jellyfish?
Although jellies are well known for their ability to sting, using harpoon-like cells on their tentacles to force toxin into their prey, the moon jelly possesses little danger to humans.
Aurelia aurita is a scyphozoan found worldwide with variable stinging potency. Moon jellyfish do not have strong enough stinging power to penetrate through the human skin, but if you happen to get brushed by one, you will feel a minor stinging sensation.