White Spotted Jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata) | White spotted jellyfish is a resident of Australia and is also known as the Australian spotted jellyfish. White spotted jellyfish live in oceans and coastal waters. You can find them throughout Australia. The species is also found in the waters of the Hawaiian Islands since at least 1945, but have not experienced the same type of massive population explosion in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The ecological impact of species in these waters has not been determined. It was spotted off the southern California coast, but not confirmed.
Species: P. punctata
It grows to the size of about 45-50 inches in diameter, and is now known to grow to a length of just over 60 inches in size. They look very nice with the design of the white spots on their body and their translucent gelatinous frilly oral arms add charm to a different aspect of their appearance. Moreover, they are fairly harmless and their sting only contains mild poison that does not cause any serious effects or reactions in humans. The application of vinegar can cure the little burning sensation that can be caused by the bite. In most cases, just washing the site of the sting with salt water is enough action to free themselves from the effects of low white spotted jellyfish stabbing.
Although they look very graceful and harmless, the White spotted jellyfish is another kind of threat to marine ecosystems. White spotted jellyfish are like sponges in that they filter sea water in one day in search of food and nutrition. They feed mainly on microscopic plankton in large quantities in sea water. However, the problem with the fact that they are as much as 13,200 liters sea water filter every day. Additionally, White spotted jellyfish often found in large flocks, and the intake of planktons by a swarm of White spotted jellyfish can be very high. This means that their consumption of plankton is extremely high.
This causes a serious threat to the fragile balance of the marine ecosystem. There are a number of other marine animals like corals and sea anemones and even the whale on these microscopic plankton depend for their food. The consumption of zooplankton by a swarm of white spotted jellyfish leaves little or no food for some of these species and they face the threat of death due to unavailability of food. This has been a major problem along the coast of Australia, the original habitat of the White spotted jellyfish.
This problem caused by the White spotted jellyfish has become worse due to their forced migration to the Gulf of Mexico. It is believed that the White spotted jellyfish may have been trapped in the ballast tank of a naval vessel and was transported to the Gulf of Mexico. Offered a different opinion that the polyps of the white jellyfish are free at the bottom of the naval vessels in order to Hydroid form a colony and was transported to the Gulf of Mexico, where they become medusae and finally, adult White spotted jellyfish.
Whatever the cause of this transport, the White spotted jellyfish was introduced in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are now found in large numbers. The indigenous marine species in the Gulf of Mexico are beginning the problem of non-availability of plankton by the presence of the white spotted jellyfish face. When found in the warm waters of the jellyfish thrive. White spotted jellyfish are usually euryhaline but low salinity may have a negative effect on the species. In times of low salinity these jellyfish exhibit loss of their zooxanthellae.
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