Jellies and comb jellies have lived on Earth for at least 500 million years, making them three times as old as dinosaurs. Sea jellies survive without a heart, brain, or lungs. They are 95 percent water, and their movements are governed by the flow of the water they live in.
Jellies play an important role in the ocean as food for other animals, like sea turtles and mola molas. Humans also rely on jellies for food and other uses. They are also considered an indicator of ocean health.
Learn about all the species of sea jellies and comb jellies now on exhibit at the Aquarium.
The Aquarium’s aquarists have successfully cultured several species of jellies for many years. In protected environments such as aquariums, jellies can live longer than their lifespans in the wild because of the absence of predators and the availability of an adequate food supply.
Humans have found many uses for sea jellies, but human activity is changing ocean ecosystems, affecting jelly reproduction and habitats and potentially reducing their populations in the wild.
While sea jellies have the simplest anatomy of almost any animal, they have complex and varying lifecycles and reproduce both sexually and asexually. Different jelly species reproduce in different ways.
Found along the coasts of California and Oregon, these sea jellies feed on small fish and plankton that come in contact with the jellies’ stinging tentacles.