Name: Jellyfish
Scientific name: Cnidaria Scyphozoa Aurelia
Location: Along both coasts of North America
Habitat: Tropical to sub-polar latitudes
Status: Not threatened 
Diet:  Fish, marine invertebrates, zooplankton 
Location in the zoo:  James R. Record Aquarium
Physical description
Range from 2 to 40 centimeters; some can reach up to 2 meters in diameter.  Largely water (94% to 96%) with thick jelly layers.  Radially symmetric.
General information
Jelly fish begin as polyps with tentacles and look like an anemone.  As adults they have a body-form called a medusa.  It is a bell-shape with trailing tentacles.  The jellyfish swims by contracting and relaxing muscles around the edge of the bell.
Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations
The radial symmetry in the jellyfish allows the ability to sense both food and possible danger on all sides.  This is beneficial because the jellyfish is not a fast swimmer.  The tentacles of the jellyfish bear cnidocytes or stinging cells.  These are used for defense and also to capture food.
Comments about the Jellyfish of the Fort Worth Zoo

Moon Jelly
(Photo courtesy of M. Westermeier)
The zoo has two species of jellyfish.  They have the Moon Jellyfish, as seen above and also an Upside-down jellyfish.  It would be most enjoyable if they were to acquire a large selection and number. 

Upside-down Jellyfish at the Fort Worth Zoo
Personal Observations
The jellyfish is very graceful as it pushes itself through the water. The Monterrey Bay Aquarium has a very large display of jellyfish with a blue background.  This gives the jellyfish the appearance of glowing in the dark. 

Moon Jelly at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Source Materials and Related Links:
Zoology 4th Edition; Stephen A. Miller and John B. Harley; McGraw Hill; 1999 
Laboratory Studies in Animal Diversity; Hickman & Hickman; McGraw Hill; 1999I 

Page author: Pam O'Toole

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