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Japanese Sea Nettles swim at Shedd Aquarium.

Jellies

At 95 percent water, jellies aren’t too different from the oceans they inhabit. These brainless, boneless, bloodless beauties are notable for what they do have: venomous stinging cells on their typically long tentacles that fire on contact to immobilize food or fend off foes. In either case, the venom lessens the risk of damage to a soft, squishy jelly.

A pacific sea nettle jelly has a domed top and a long trailing ring of thin, hair-like tentacles surrounding a fleshy mass of thicker, curled tentacles and moves with the currents.

An underwater jewel

Sea jellies are always mesmerizing, and a wonderful reminder of the diverse beauty of the underwater world. Though these animals lack a heart, bones and a brain, they're some of the most widely distributed creatures in the world, pulsing or drifting thousands of miles on currents alone. Sea jellies can be found in every ocean on the planet.

Celebrate the beautiful boneless wonders of the ocean! Jellies, like these white-spotted jellies, often travel in groups known as blooms, smacks or swarms.

“Jellies are one of the simplest and oldest creatures on the planet, yet they're so lovely and graceful. They make it hard to get any work done, as I tend to just want to stop and watch these beautiful animals effortlessly swim.”

George Parsons, senior curator
 A flower hat Jelly at Shedd Aquarium.

Flowerhat Jelly

A Japanese sea nettle floats at Shedd Aquarium.

Japanese Sea Nettle

White spotted jellies have a small, mushroom-like cap trailed by a large, flaring trumpet-like set of flaring tentacles, with smaller, round-tipped tentacles trailing after.

White-Spotted Jelly

A purple-striped jelly at Shedd Aquarium.

Purple Stripe Nettle