On a recent sailing trip to Catalina Island I encountered a type of jellyfish that I had never seen before in our local ocean waters. Since I am no expert, I took a video and sent it off to my super-smart marine science friends. They identified it as an egg-yolk jellyfish. A what??? I had to find out more. Here is what I learned about these captivating creatures.
What Are Egg-Yolk Jellyfish?
Egg-yolk jellies, which are also known as fried egg jellyfish, have a smooth translucent bell that has an elevated yolk-yellow center. Their color and distinctive bell feature give this jellyfish its name. When you see one in the ocean it looks like a cracked egg floating through the water.
About Egg-Yolk / Fried Egg Jellyfish
Like most jellyfish, the egg yolk jellyfish spends a lot of time motionless, slowly pulsing its bell while drifting around the ocean waters near Catalina Island. The numerous short, appendages extending from it contain mouth-arm openings through which the jellyfish traps prey and feeds. The primary prey of the fried egg jellyfish is zooplankton and other jellyfish. Their sting is very mild so the tentacles often provide shelter to small fish in open waters. In addition, small animals like crabs sometimes hitch a ride on top of and inside the jellyfish’s bell safely tucked away from the stingers.
Jellyfish Fun Facts - They are Older than Dinosaurs
Jellyfish are found in every ocean at every depth and come in many sizes and colors. They have been inhabiting our oceans for over 500 million years, appearing 250 million years BEFORE dinosaurs. They are the oldest multi-organed life form on our planet! Jellyfish have no brain and are 98% water which allows them to blend into ocean waters - one of the keys to their survival.
Next time your adventures take you out on the ocean look down and you just might have your own jellyfish encounter. Be cautious because although they are beautiful and fun to watch, some jellyfish can be quite harmful to humans. Leave the touching to marine science professionals and take a video instead. Below is a cool egg yolk jellyfish video I discovered from Deep Marine Scenes - @DeepMarineScenes. Enjoy!