Purple-striped jellies.

During our second day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium last weekend, I finally got my much needed jelly time. I also had occasion to notice that their jelly exhibits have shrunk significantly since their height a few years ago, and that some of my favorite varieties are no longer on display. Booo! MOAR JELLEES PLEEZ!

Ahem. Where was I?

Anyway, there are still some pleasing jellies on display. One of these is the purple-striped jelly (Chrysaora colorata).


The common name for these jellies comes from the deep colored bands on its bell. To me, the coloration doesn't look purple, exactly. For that matter, the bands don't look all that stripey to me. Another reason kids should be encouraged to go into science -- if you discover a new critter, you can give it a name that makes sense to you! These quibbles aside, it's a pretty jelly.

And, like the sea nettle, the purple-striped jelly can deliver a painful sting. While the sting is helpful in paralyzing some of the jelly's prey (and, undoubtedly, in dissuading other critters from getting too close), apparently the sting is not fool-proof: divers have reported seeing ocean sunfish eating the purple-striped jelly, which suggests either that the ocean sunfish are immune to the sting or that, given the prospect of a tasty purple-striped jelly meal, they just don't care about the stinging.

Out there in the open water off the coast of California, as the purple-striped jellies are eating (fish eggs and fish larvae, zooplankton, other jellies and ctenophores), they're also getting munched upon, not just by ocean sunfish but also by tiny amphipods who are parasitic on them. Luckily, the purple-striped jellies get help from young cancer crabs, who feed on the amphipods. These helpful crabs will hitch a ride on the purple-striped jelly, keeping the amphipod population under control.


The purple-striped jelly is beautiful, but sometimes it can look a little discombobulated.

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Oh that's too bad. I love their jellyfish exhibits, especially the comb jellies.
Three years ago I got to visit Perth and when I went out for a swim, I saw a comb jellies out there swimming with me.

Phil, Beth be aware that Janet never called them "jellyfish". They are not a variety of fish. I know you know that. To confuse things more, there are two species of sea nettle. Could we maybe call them the Atlantic sea nettle or Pacific sea nettle? The Atlantic variety, with which I am most familiar is not a very potent stinger, at least in the cooler months. I have had entire classes of fifth graders stung while seining along the shore and not a single one of them would even leave the water. A mild red rash developed which vanished without treatment in about 15 min. I understand they are more potent in the summer months. I have no firsthand experience with the Pacific variety, and of course there could be various races among the species.

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 01 Mar 2009 #permalink

Jellyfish aren't fish.
Seahorses aren't horses.

BTW, this reminds me of the movie "Seven Pounds" where Will Smith committed suicide by deliberately getting himself bitten by a box jelly(fish).