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Class - Scyphozoa (Jellyfish)

Jellyfish are marine invertebrates belonging to the Scyphozoan class and in turn the phylum Cnidaria. The body of an adult jellyfish is composed of a bell-shaped, jellylike substance enclosing its internal structure, from which the creature's tentacles suspend. Each tentacle is covered with stinging cells that can sting or kill other animals: most jellyfish use them to secure prey or as a defense mechanism.


Most jellyfish are passive drifters that feed on small fish and zooplankton that become caught in their tentacles. Jellyfish have an incomplete digestive system, meaning that the same orifice is used for both food intake and waste expulsion. Their shape is not hydrodynamic, which makes them slow swimmers but this is little hindrance as they feed on plankton, needing only to drift slowly through the water. It is more important for them that their movements create a current where the water (which contains their food) is being forced within reach of their tentacles. They accomplish this by rhythmically opening and closing their bell-like body.


Photo Credit:

Tom Murphy VII

sea nettle jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 2004.

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