Life of Sea |Cannonball Jellyfish(Stomolophus meleagris) | Cannonball jellyfish is also known as the Cabbage head jellyfish or Jelly Balls. Its common name is derived from the resemblance to a cannon ball in shape and size. Cannonball jellyfish are found in estuarine and salt water. Cannonball jellyfish were reported from New England to Brazil in the western Atlantic, from southern California to Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan to the South China Sea in the western Pacific. They are one of the most common scyphomedusae along the southeastern and Gulf coasts of the United States.
Species: S. meleagris
A Cannonball jellyfish can have milky brown to yellow in color and looks like a large half-egg shaped mushroom. It differs from most other jellyfish by having a more muscular body and the fact that it was a good swimmer. Hemisperical the bell reaches 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches) wide and lined with brown pigment. He has short, excellent oral arms with secondary mouth folds (scapulets) at the base of the bell is covered with mucus to catch small prey. Stomolophus meleagris meaning "many mouths hunter". The slime is also considered a response to the disruption rather than breast feeding.
Cannonball jellyfish feed on plankton, such as veligers, and all kinds of red drum larvae. They have a symbiotic relationship with the regular spider crab, which also eat small zooplankton. The crab feeds on the prey captured by the cannonball and the medusae of the jellyfish. Cannon balls are an important food source for leatherbacks, so preserving the Cannonball jellyfish is important for the survival of the leatherback turtles. Cannonball jellyfish are commercially harvested as food for humans.
Thesejellyfishare quite interestingto watch, lookingsomewhat likeamushroomfloating inthe water. Thereare even somepeople whojellyfishin theirown fishtanksat homeandkeepthem aspetsor officepets. But, whendisturbed theCannonball jellyfishsecretes amucusfrom hisnematocystcontainsatoxin. The toxindamagessmall fish inthe vicinity, anddrives awaymost predators, except for certainspecies ofcrabs. Althoughnot oftenCannonball jellyfishstabbingpeople, it still hastoxinsthat can causecardiacproblemsin animals andhumans. The toxincauses an irregularheartrhythmproblemsin the myocardiumandconduction pathways.Suchcomplicationsarealso associated withothertoxins ofcoelenterates. The toxinis also harmfulto the eyeswhen thenematocystinto contactwith the eyesis verypainful andis followedbyrednessandswelling.
There are beings who prey on the Cannonball jellyfish. One of these creatures is the endangered Leatherback turtle bark that feed on the Cannonball jellyfish from April to early summer when migrating from the Caribbean to the north head. Another predator of the Cannonball jellyfish is human. We commercial harvesting of these jellyfish as a food source in many restaurants, especially in the Asian region. It is the high nutritional and protein content of these jellyfish that makes it such a good source of food especially in the poorer areas where little protein availability in the diet is a common problem. The jellyfish is eaten as a delicacy in Japan and has also played an important role in traditional Asian medicines for thousands of years and continue to do so.