Jellies await your arrival upon entering the Aquarium's main "Under the Bay" exhibit areas. Ambient lighting sets the mood to enjoy these beautifully mesmerizing invertebrates. Front and center is a 725-gallon cylinder tank displaying Moon Jellies, while a wall-mounted, 740-gallon gallon kriesel tank showcases the Pacific Sea Nettles.
Worldwide, there are more than 200 species of jellies. Jellies are made up of 95% water and have no heart, brains, bones or other organs. Their bodies let off pulsations, but movement is primarily controlled by bay and ocean currents. Jelly species are being directly affected by climate change, as their populations and range continue to increase as water temperatures rise. Information on this increase in jelly populations, referred to as jelly blooms, is also shared in this exhibit.
Moon jellies, Aurelia aurita, are found in temperate and tropical waters worldwide, including along the Northern California coast. Moon jellies are a fast-growing and fairly short-lived species, developing from the larvae or planula stage to their adult or medusa phase in approximately 10 months. While jellies in the wild typically only live to one year old, due to predation by animals including turtles and other jellies, they can survive much longer at aquariums where they are protected and closely monitored. Aquarium of the Bay has cultured Moon Jellies in-house since 1998.
Pacific Sea Nettles, Chrysaora fuscescens, are most commonly found along the California and Oregon coasts, and range into the Gulf of Alaska and Mexico. The animals are medusivores, meaning they dine on other jelly species. The animals are equipped with nematocysts or stinging cells, which are located within their tentacles. The animal has no control over what it stings, and does so instantly when touched.
For a sneak peek, enjoy a moment of Jelly Zen