Look for Pacific sea nettles in the 700-gallon circular display outside the elevators to Wild Reef. The moon jellies that occupied that space, floating in a hypnotic circular flow, have moved to the Icy North section of Polar Play Zone in the Oceanarium. And a good thing.
Pacific sea nettles (Chrysaora fuscescens), which are one of the largest sea jelly species, eat moon jellies for breakfast. And probably for lunch and dinner, too. Sea nettles are medusavores, which means that they include the adult, bell-shaped form of sea jellies, or medusas, in their diet, along with small fishes. With the long stinging tentacles that surround its mouth, a nettle stuns its prey and moves it into a gastrovascular cavity where the meal is digested. What goes in comes out the same way in these diaphanous, aqueous animals with a very simple body plan. The sea nettles on display are juveniles. When fully grown, they could measure nearly 20 inches across the bell and have tentacles more than 6 feet long.
Posted by Karen Furnweger, web editor