The Moon Jelly (Aurelia aurita) is a widely studied jellyfish that tends to live in open waters in the euphotic zone, usually in the northern hemisphere. The Moon Jelly has a round shaped bell with many short tentacles surrounding the outer bell. The Moon Jelly has nematocysts covering each tentacle that it uses to capture its prey and bring it to its mouth. Unlike most jellyfish, the Moon Jelly’s tentacles are harmless to humans.
The Moon Jelly is not a very strong swimmer so they usually get washed up on the shore because of strong winds or storms. Along with other species of jellyfish, this jelly is a favorite snack for some open ocean predators such as the Ocean Sunfish (Mola Mola) or the Leatherback Turtle.
Scientists believe that moon jellies and other jellies thrive in areas that are particularly affected by humans. Overfishing, ocean warming, and pollution are all factors that reduce moon jellies’ predators and competitors and increase their prey. These results provide a more favorable environment for this species. As people continue to increase our ocean activities, the Moon Jelly may become one of the more successful species in the open ocean.