Pacific Sea Nettle

Common name: Pacific Sea Nettle

Authors: Stephanie Hurst & Chelsea Dinh

Scientific name: Chrysaora fuscescens

Size range: Between 10 to 15 feet in length.

Identifying features:

The Pacific Sea Nettle has a bell with a diameter of approximately 17.7 inches (45 cm), and arms which range between 12 to 15 feet (3.6 to 4.8 m) in length; this cnidarian has 24 flowing feather-like tentacles, and four oral arms. Regarding unique markings, the Sea Nettle’s bell’s overall color ranges between yellow to maroon, and may also have sporadic stripes strewn across the surface.

Habitat:

This Sea Nettle lives widespread across the Pacific Ocean, but can range from Alaska to the Philippines; lingering near the surface of the waters during the winter, and in the depths of the sea in the spring/summer. Occasionally the Sea nettle becomes a way of transportation for young cancer crabs, and larvae which adhere to the top of the Sea Nettle, hitching a ride to a more favorable spot.

Predators:

The main predators of the Pacific Sea Nettle are Sea Turtles and the Ocean Sunfish. To defend against a threat, minor or large, the Sea Nettle stings whatever comes in contact with its tentacles.

Life Cycle:

The Pacific Sea Nettle reproduces externally, where the eggs then hatch in the open waters of the ocean where they adhere to an area of the ocean floor. The “larvae” then develop in to a “polyp” through an asexual process, where miniature medusas form in to a plant-like structure; the medusas later bud off in to the open waters, where they continue to develop in to adult Sea Nettles.

Aquarium Photos and video by Stephanie Hurst and Chelsea Dinh

Wild Photos and video by D. Young

References

Aquarium of the Pacific (2011) West Coast Sea Nettle.  Aquarium of the Pacific. Retrieved May 27th 2011 from www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/full_description/west_coast_sea_nettle/

Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation (2011) Sea Nettle on Exhibit. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Retrieved May 27th 2011 from www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/AnimalDetails.aspx?enc=LeWQvjcLBGScbfBrDNhDNA

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