Jellyfish Exhibit

moon jellyfish underwater  

Moon Jellyfish

Key West Tourist Attractions Moon Jellyfish

About Moon Jellyfish

The moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) are commonly seen in the Florida Keys and live in temperate, coastal waters around the globe. They are comprised of 95% water, possessing no respiratory, excretory, or circulatory systems. They do, however, possess a fundamental nerve system connected to a nerve net that will respond to stimuli and creates the “pulsing” movement that jellyfish are known for. Known predators of the jellyfish are sunfish (Mola mola), sea turtles, and even other jellyfish, such as the hydromedusa (Aequorea victoria). While there are predators, jellyfish are thriving and there are no real threats to their booming populations.

Why their shape, size and movement matter

Jellyfish are masters of adaptation and thrive in low oxygen environments; they are strong bioindicators regarding the health and decline of our oceans. They are extremely weak swimmers, relying on ocean currents for locomotion. Their rudimentary swimming function serves only to keep them near the surface and to aid in feeding.

Moon jellyfish are carnivorous, feeding primarily on zooplankton and larval organisms. Their tentacles possess stinging cells called nematocysts and are used to stun and hold their prey, drawing their meal up to their gastrovascular cavity to be consumed. Jellyfish stings are common with recreational swimmers, often by simply bumping into the tentacles without realizing the animals are in the area. Jellyfish stings can be painful but, more often than not, are not a medical emergency.

Fun Fact! A grouping of jellyfish is called a “smack”!

Come check out our jellyfish exhibit at the Key West Aquarium, one of the favorite Key West Tourist Attractions on the island!