This photo of a Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia Labiata) was taken on a past trip to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium just outside of Carmel, California. The invertebrate room at the aquarium is huge, and must contain thousands of jellyfish of every shape, size, and color.
Instead of long, trailing tentacles, moon jellies have a short, fine fringe (cilia) that sweeps food toward the mucous layer on the edges of the bells. Prey is stored in pouches until the oral arms pick it up and begin to digest it. The coloration of a moon jelly often changes depending on its diet. If the jelly feeds extensively on crustaceans, it turns pink or lavender. An orange tint hints that a jelly’s been feeding on brine shrimp. Found worldwide in temperate and tropical waters (as well as the Monterrey Bay itself and up and down the California coast), moon jellies feed in quiet bays and harbors. Although moon jellies have a sting, they pose little threat to humans.
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