Jellyfish

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Jellyfish are found in all of the Earth's oceans, including the very deep sea, as well as shallow saltwater lakes. Various jellyfish species have a wide range of living preferences, with some preferring arctic waters, and others preferring warmer tropical waters. There are animals called hydrozoans that are closely related to jellyfish and live in freshwater lakes.

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  • How are jellyfish scientifically classified?

    Q: How are jellyfish scientifically classified?

    A: Jellyfish are animals of the phylum Cnidaria, class Scyphozoa, order Semaeostomeae and family Cyaneidae. The phylum Cnidaria is an incredibly ancient group of invertebrate animals, stretching back hundreds of millions of years. Jellyfish are among the oldest types of multicellular animals. True jellyfish have a number of distinguishing characteristics by which they are classified.
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  • How do jellyfish swim?

    Q: How do jellyfish swim?

    A: Jellyfish swim by opening and closing a part of their body called the bell, which is the transparent, sack like part of their body that the tentacles hang from. The bell catches water when it opens and ejects it when it closes, propelling the jellyfish forward.
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  • How does a jellyfish move?

    Q: How does a jellyfish move?

    A: Jellyfish move by floating with the ocean's currents, jet propulsion or by using cilia. Jellyfish typically move deep in the water, though some move in shallow water. Man-o'-wars float on top of the water.
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  • What are jellyfish made of?

    Q: What are jellyfish made of?

    A: Jellyfish are made of 95 percent water and 5 percent solid matter. The solid matter is composed of three layers: the epidermis is the outer layer, the mesoglea or the jelly is the middle layer and the gastrodermis is the inner layer.
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  • Are jellyfish carnivores, herbivores or omnivores?

    Q: Are jellyfish carnivores, herbivores or omnivores?

    A: Jellyfish are carnivores and excellent predators. They sting with tentacles to subdue small aquatic fish, and eat the eggs and invertebrates that stick to their tentacles.
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  • What is the jellyfish's habitat?

    Q: What is the jellyfish's habitat?

    A: Jellyfish are found in all of the Earth's oceans, including the very deep sea, as well as shallow saltwater lakes. Various jellyfish species have a wide range of living preferences, with some preferring arctic waters, and others preferring warmer tropical waters. There are animals called hydrozoans that are closely related to jellyfish and live in freshwater lakes.
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  • What kinds of food do jellyfish eat?

    Q: What kinds of food do jellyfish eat?

    A: Jellyfish are opportunistic carnivores that will eat almost anything they come across. Smaller jellyfish consume plankton, larger ones eat fish eggs, crustaceans and snails, and the very largest jellyfish can catch and eat whole fish. Jellyfish can also be cannibalistic.
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  • Where do box jellyfish live?

    Q: Where do box jellyfish live?

    A: According to National Geographic, box jellyfish, also called sea wasps, live off the coastal waters of Northern Australia and throughout the Indo-Pacific. Box jellyfish also are frequently found off the coasts of Vietnam, Hawaii and the Philippines.
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  • Can you get a pet jellyfish for kids?

    Q: Can you get a pet jellyfish for kids?

    A: Non-poisonous jellyfish, such as Moon jellyfish and Blue Blubber jellyfish, are widely available and appropriate as pets for children. Pet jellyfish for kids require a special aquarium and fish-specific diets.
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  • What do moon jellyfish eat?

    Q: What do moon jellyfish eat?

    A: Moon jellyfish primarily eat planktonic crustaceans, but they also eat other small plankton including molluscs, fish eggs and smaller jellyfish. They catch their food with sticky mucus that lines the underside of their bells and then direct it into their four stomach pouches with their tentacles.
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  • What are some predators of the jellyfish?

    Q: What are some predators of the jellyfish?

    A: Some predators of the jellyfish include other jellyfish, sunfish, some sea turtles and humans. Occasionally birds and other fish will bite around the non-venomous inner tissue of the jellyfish, dodging the outer tentacles altogether.
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  • What is a red jellyfish?

    Q: What is a red jellyfish?

    A: The red jellyfish, Tiburonia granrojo, is a large, predatory species of jellyfish living deep in the Pacific Ocean. Dark red in color, it grows to 2 to 3 feet in diameter and has a fleshy appearance.
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  • Q: What is the niche of jellyfish?

    A: The ecological niche of jellyfish has remained largely unchanged for more than 600 million years. Jellyfish are carnivorous and live on plankton, small crustaceans, fish eggs, fish and other jellyfish. In turn, they are preyed on by tuna, sharks, sea turtles, swordfish and salmon.
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  • Q: How many babies do jellyfish have?

    A: Jellyfish release thousands of larvae that settle on the ocean floor and turn into polyps that become baby jellyfish. Male jellyfish release sperm into the water and the sperm either fertilizes eggs that the female releases into the water or enter through the female's mouth and fertilize her eggs.
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  • Q: What eats jellyfish?

    A: Creatures that eat jellyfish include tuna, sharks and sea turtles such as the leatherback and the hawksbill. These animals eat jellyfish despite their prey's stinging tentacles. Jellyfish also eat each other.
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  • Q: When is jellyfish season in the Gulf of Mexico?

    A: Jellyfish season occurs during the summer months when the nettle, moon and Australian jellyfish invade thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico. The jellyfish are proliferate in an area called the Dead Zone, where polluted water from the Mississippi River pours into the Gulf of Mexico and allows for few things to survive other than jellyfish.
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  • Q: What are infant jellyfish called?

    A: Infant jellyfish are called ephyrae. Jellyfish begin their life cycle as larvae. The larvae float in the currents until they attach to a rock. Once they attach to the rock, they are known as polyps. Polyps eventually bud into ephyrae.
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  • Q: Why do jellyfish glow?

    A: Jellyfish that glow do so in order to attract prey and as a form of defense against predators. Jellyfish are able to do so due to phosphorescence, luminescence or bioluminescence.
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  • Q: How can a jellyfish think without a brain?

    A: Jellyfish are not actually fish, but a collection of plankton. Though relatively simple, they are able to survive without the presence of a complex circulatory, digestive or central nervous system.
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  • Q: Is there an immortal jellyfish?

    A: There is a species of jellyfish that theoretically live forever; it is called the Turritopsis dohrnii. It lives in the Mediterranean Sea and around the waters of Japan.
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  • Q: What are some jellyfish physical characteristics?

    A: All jellyfish are invertebrates, which means that they lack backbones. The rest of their anatomy is quite simple, including a primitive nervous system that is capable of detecting heat, light, food and vibrations. Since jellyfish lack eyes and ears, these nerves are their primary method of navigating the ocean.
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