|Aurelia labiata Chamisso
& Eysenhardt, 1821, top 2 photos; Aurelia aurita (Linnaeus, 1758),
third : Moon Jellies|
Phylum Cnidaria / Class Scyphozoa / Order Semaeostomeae / Family Ulmaridae
Sexes are readily distinguished since females hold the fertilized eggs, which appear as whitish-gray clumps on the manubrium (last photo). Males may sometimes be seen with long sperm filaments trailing from the oral arms. In Monterey Bay large surface aggregations may be seen during fall and winter months when they can be quite abundant (photo 4). During other periods moon jellies may not be seen for many months. Aurelia labiata inhabits nearshore surface waters from southern California to southeast Alaska. A similar species (A. aurita; bottom photo) has been introduced to San Francisco Bay and perhaps other West Coast areas. It has 8 bell lobes that lack the notch characteristic of A. labiata, a distinctly smaller manubrium, and oral arms that extend beyond the bell margin (the oral arms in A. labiata do not typically extend beyond the bell margin). This is a common jelly in Europe where it probably originated, and may also now be found off Japan and the U.S. East Coast, and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is relatively easy to establish polyps and culture Aurelia in captivity. The medusae can successfully be maintained in a variety of aquarium systems. A. aurita is probably the most commonly displayed jelly at public aquariums, and is the species that most neophyte jellyfish aquarists start with.
All photographs © David Wrobel and may not be used or copied without permission!