The Aquarium is now offering the opportunity to feed the moon jellies at the Moon Jelly Touch Lab on Harbor Terrace. Purchase a cup of tiny brine shrimp to gently pour over the jellies and watch as they collect the food with their stinging tentacles. This opportunity is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while supplies last.
The cost is $3 per cup of food or $5 for two cups. Cups can be purchased at the exhibit. Each cup contains tens of thousands of brine shrimp in saltwater. The brine shrimp are grown on site at the Aquarium and feed many animals at the Aquarium, including the sea jellies, baby fish, and filter-feeding animals.
The moon jellies collect the brine shrimp using their fine sweeping tentacles that line their perimeter. These tentacles contain stinging cells called nematocysts that use venom to neutralize their prey. Moon jelly venom is too weak for humans to feel, but is ideal for capturing small plankton.
The moon jellies’ four oral arms (frilled, ribbon-like structures at their center) gather the food from the stinging tentacles as the jellies pulse. The jellies then move the food to the four horseshoe-shaped structures at the center of their bell, where it is digested. After feeding the jellies, look for brine shrimp in the oral arms or the horseshoe-shaped “stomach,” which will take on the pinkish color of the brine shrimp.