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
Species: C. quinquecirrha
The bellof Medusafrom theWest coast sea nettleissaucer-shaped, with shallowscallops(lobes) around the margin. Twenty-fourlong, ribbon-like, thintentaclesstreaming fromthe bellmarginandfour long, lacy, be oralanti-clockwisespiralarmsin the center ofthe bell. The clockis covered withwarts thatnematocysts(stinging cells) contain. The bellis yellowishor reddish-brown with adark border. Thereisabrighterrays16-32star patternontheexumbrella, the outside of theclock. The tentaclesand oralarmsare very darkreddishbrownto yellowishin color.
Thesejelliesare carnivoresandfeed onotherjelliesandavarietyof zooplanktonincludingfishlarvaeandeggs, comb jelliesand otherjelly, andpelagicsnails. Asthey movethroughthe water withboth oralarmsandtentaclesextendedtheir tentaclesdownstream, above and around theclockto createalarge areato participate inpreycapture. Eachtentacleof West coast sea nettle is covered withstinging nettlethousands of microscopicnematocysts,in turn,every individualnematocysthasa "trigger"(cnidocil),coupled withacapsulecontainingacoiledstingingfilament.
Upon contact, thecnidocilimmediatelyaprocess thatthe poison-coatedwireejected fromthe capsuleandinto the goal.Thiswill injecttoxinscapableof killingsmallerpreyor stunningallegedpredators.Inhumans,this is likelyanon-lethal,butneverthelesspainfulrashtypicallypersistingfor about20minutes. Ratherthantoxiceffects,somenematocystscontainadhesionused toentangleoranchorits target.