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Species to Spot in The Jelly Dome

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This spring, The Jelly Dome lets Museum visitors see dive into the world of jellies and experience a day in the life of these amazing invertebrates. To prepare yourself for this underwater adventure, get to know a couple of the species you’ll encounter!


Pacific Sea Nettle (Chrysaora fuscescens)

A jellyfish with tentacles extending from an umbrella-like structure floats undersea.
The Pacific Sea Nettle is part of the group known as cnidarians, or true jellyfish, that you can see in The Jelly Dome.
Courtesy of HRae/Wikimedia Commons

With its golden red body (or “bell”) trailing long tentacles and ruffled oral arms, the Pacific Sea Nettle is stunning in more ways than one. Stinging cells line its appendages, and a single touch can paralyze its prey. These jellyfish cannot see, and use light-sensing organs to journey daily from the dark deep sea to well-lit waters near the surface.


Crown Jellyfish (Cephea cephea)

Multi-tentacled jellyfish floats undersea.
The Crown Jellyfish is one of many amazing species you can encounter in The Jelly Dome.
Courtesy of D. Keats/Flickr

“Spikes” spring from the crown jellyfish’s distinctive purplish bell, and a ring of oral arms form a shape like a cauliflower, while flowing tentacles under the bell sting and capture prey. These jellies grow extremely fast and large—the bell of a typical adult is about two feet (60 cm) across.


Australian Spotted Jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata)

A translucent mushroom-shaped jellyfish swims underwater.
The Australian Spotted Jellyfish is an invasive species found in many of the world’s oceans.
Courtesy of Orest/Wikimedia Commons

The Australian Spotted Jellyfish was once found only in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but can now be found in warm waters around North America. Today, this invasive species threatens ecosystems in the Gulf of California, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, where a bloom—a sudden rise in the jellyfish population—can wipe out food for other species.


Lagoon Jelly (Mastigias papua)

Five jellyfish shaped like mushrooms with dangling tentacles float underwater.
The Lagoon Jelly (Mastigias papua) lives in shallow waters and takes food in through openings in its oral-arms.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Lagoon Jelly lives in shallow isolated waters like coastal lakes and lagoons. This spotted jelly is missing a “mouth” under its bell, and instead takes in food through small openings in its oral arms. It is also host to algae called zooxanthallae that take in sunlight when these jellies rise to the water's surface. The sunlight helps the algae grow, and the algae give the jelly energy in return.

To learn more about jellies—and experience life in their underwater world—visit The Jelly Dome through June 30 in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

*Jelly Dome hours are subject to change, please visit the site for details and updates.