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Jellyfish bodies are beautiful, delicate and powerful

Posted July 2, 2014.
Photo by Jocelyn Richards.

The brown sea nettle, Chrysaora fuscescens, lives all along the West coast of the US in the Pacific and Indian oceans. Like many other jellyfish, sea nettles pack a powerful punch in their tentacles, with harpoon-like barbs ready to paralyze prey that drift into the jelly’s way. Sea nettles can propel themselves through the water by contracting their bell and squeezing out the water, but most of the time, they simply drift in the water’s current.

While they have a powerful defense, the bodies of these fascinating creatures are remarkably delicate. Mostly protein and water, the membranes of a jellyfish are so thin that they don’t need a respiratory system--they can absorb oxygen from the water. Their delicate nature requires special care in an aquarium. Regular rectangular tanks could damage them, so aquarists keep jellies in round enclosures called kreisel tanks that use a gentle current to keep the jellies moving.

Have you captured a photo of these amazing animals? Share them with us on Facebook.

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