The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach California added more jellyfish throughout the aquarium. My favorite jelly fish are the Upside Down Jellies found in the Tropical Pacific Gallery, but they don’t picture well because of the gray pewter colors. You can find jellies in all different sizes and shapes, and they’re just fun to watch. Pictured below are Spotted Lagoon Jellies, Pacific Sea Nettles, Moon Jellies, and the Redeye Medusa. They also have a designated area where you can touch Jellies which makes a great learning experience.
At the Aquarium, jellyfish are referred to as sea jellies because technically they are not fish. Jellies and comb jellies have been around along time and they are as old as dinosaurs. They have lived on Earth for 500 million years! They survive without a heart, brain or lungs. They are 95% water and their movements are governed by the flow of water they live in.
“Sea jellies are members of the phylum Cnidaria (pronounced nigh-DARE-ee-uh). Within this phylum is the class Scyphozoa, which includes the most familiar types of sea jellies, with bell-shaped bodies and tentacles or oral arms. This includes moon jellies, purple-striped jellies, Pacific sea nettles, and many other species. Other classes of sea jellies in the phylum include: Hydrozoa (small, usually transparent species like umbrella and crystal jellies; this class also includes the Portuguese Man-o-War, which is actually a colony of jellies in their medusa and polyp forms), Cubozoa (box jellies and sea wasps), and Staurozoa (stalked jellies that live attached to rocks and other surfaces).”
Jellies are important because they are a source of food for many sea creatures like fish and sea turtles. They are also considered an indicator for ocean health. Humans also have many uses for sea jellies such as food, medicine and science.
- Food: People from many countries, including Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries, harvest sea jellies for food. Jelly fisheries in China date back 1,700 years, and worldwide more than 900 million pounds of jellies are caught each year, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Fishermen are beginning to harvest sea jellies off the coast of the United States for Asian markets. Jellies are often dried for storage and eaten either dried or rehydrated.
- Medicine: The ocean is increasingly seen as a potential source of medicines. While marine life found on coral reefs are the most researched, scientists are also studying biochemicals derived from sea jellies that show some promise in treating various human diseases.
- Science: In 2008 scientists Osamu Shimomura, Martin Chalfie, and Roger Y. Tsien were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work with green fluorescent proteins found in crystal jellies. When exposed to a certain kind of light, the proteins glow bright green, allowing scientists to use them as markers in cell and molecular biology research.
For more information, please visit the aquarium’s website at www.aquariumofpacific.org.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA