Saturday, July 9, 2011

Life of Purple Striped Jelly

Life of Sea | Purple Striped Jelly (Chrysaora colorata) | Purple Striped Jelly is also known as Chrysaora Colorata and Mauve Stinger. It is mostly found in coastal waters. It has a wide distribution in all warm and temperate waters and is found in Bermuda, the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Sea, off the coast of California, and in the Atlantic Ocean. In Bermuda, Purple striped jelly is usually found offshore, but aggregations may drift inshore, especially during winter months. Unlike sea nettles and moon jellies, purple-striped jellies are not seen in large surface aggregations.

Medusa of Purple striped jelly are pink to purple in color, having blue, brown, and magenta pigments. It has 8 tentacles, which can reach up to 10 m in length, and four large oral arms. The tentacles, oral arms, exumbrella, and gastric pouches are covered in cnidocytes, cells that eject a toxin-filled stinging thread. Purple striped jelly has 16 stomach pouches and 16 lappets, which are foldings of the exumbrella. The exumbrella is covered with wart-like clusters of stinging nematocysts. The average size of Purple striped jelly is 6.5 cm diameter across the bell  but they may grow to be 10 cm or more.

Purple striped jelly feeds primarily on macrozooplankton and spend most of their time searching for food. Like all jellyfish, they have stinging nematocyst cells which they use in food capture and defense. 

Purple striped jelly's stings are painful and can cause pigmented lesions and a severe allergic reaction. Although Purple striped jelly has caused no known deaths, swimmers do not want to come into contact with this species. If stung, tentacles should be removed, and pouring vinegar on the sting may prevent further discharge of nematocysts. An ice pack helps to dull the pain for most stings.

Purple striped jelly is well-known for its beautiful luminescence. If disturbed, it will bioluminesce, and this luminescence is often seen at night. Jellyfish do not have complex eyes, but they do have light receptors called ocelli so they can likely perceive luminescence in conspecifics.

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