Moon Jellies (Aurelia aurita)
Also known as Saucer Jellies, Moon Jellies thrive in a variety of temperate marine environments and can be found nearly anywhere. This species of jelly is typically transparent, but can be light shades of pink or blue, depending on diets. Moon Jellies use their stinging cells to catch prey like plankton and larvae, but are harmless to humans. This species of jellies plays several roles in the marine ecosystem by feeding other marine life like Leatherback Turtles and Ocean Sunfish, as well as controlling the amount of plankton in the ocean and supporting the growth of marine plants by enriching the seafloor with their waste.
Northeast Pacific Sea Nettles (Chrysaora fuscescens)
Northeast Pacific Sea Nettles can be found along the Northeastern Pacific coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. This species of jelly has a golden-brown bell with 24 long tentacles trailing along the bell’s perimeter, as well as four white oral arms that trail from the center. Northeast Pacific Sea Nettles can grow to be more than three feet in diameter, while their oral arms and tentacles can reach 15 feet in length. Their bodies play host to other sea life that use the Sea Nettle’s bell and tentacles as protection, including juvenile Cancer Crabs, some species of butterfly fish, and other species of Medusae.
Lion’s Mane Jellies (Cyanea capillata)
These are the largest known species of jellies, growing up to eight feet in diameter with its tentacles up to 150 feet in overall length. However, Lion’s Mane Jellies on our coast average a bell diameter of 20 inches and tentacles lengths closer to 30 feet. The body consists of eight lobes, each containing its own cluster of tentacles. Each cluster can have up to 100 individual tentacles, which it uses to catch food and bring up to its mouth, as well as to defend itself against predators like Sea Turtles. This species of jelly typically lives in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans; on our coast ranging from Alaska to Southern California.