Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Life of West Coast Sea Nettle

 Life of Sea | West Coast Sea Nettle (Chrysaora quinquecirrha) | This jellyfish is also known as Atlantic Sea Nettle. West coast sea nettles live near the surface of the water column in shallow bays and harbors in the fall and winter. In spring and summer they often form large swarms in deep ocean waters. They are commonly found in coastal waters of California and Oregon. Less common west to Japan, north to the Gulf of Alaska, and south to the Baja Peninsula.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Cnidaria
Subphylum:     Medusozoa
Class:     Scyphozoa
Order:     Semaeostomeae
Family:     Pelagiidae
Genus:     Chrysaora
Species:     C. quinquecirrha
 

The bell of Medusa from the West coast sea nettle is saucer-shaped, with shallow scallops (lobes) around the margin. Twenty-four long, ribbon-like, thin tentacles streaming from the bell margin and four long, lacy, be oral anti-clockwise spiral arms in the center of the bell. The clock is covered with warts that nematocysts (stinging cells) contain. The bell is yellowish or reddish-brown with a dark border. There is a brighter rays 16-32 star pattern on the exumbrella, the outside of the clock. The tentacles and oral arms are very dark reddish brown to yellowish in color.
 
These jellies are carnivores and feed on other jellies and a variety of zooplankton including fish larvae and eggs, comb jellies and other jelly, and pelagic snails. As they move through the water with both oral arms and tentacles extended their tentacles down stream, above and around the clock to create a large area to participate in prey capture. Each tentacle of West coast sea nettle is covered with stinging nettle thousands of microscopic nematocysts, in turn, every individual nematocyst has a "trigger" (cnidocil), coupled with a capsule containing a coiled stinging filament.  

Upon contact, the cnidocil immediately a process that the poison-coated wire ejected from the capsule and into the goal. This will inject toxins capable of killing smaller prey or stunning alleged predators. In humans, this is likely a non-lethal, but nevertheless painful rash typically persisting for about 20 minutes. Rather than toxic effects, some nematocysts contain adhesion used to entangle or anchor its target.

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