Scrippsia

Scrippsia pacifica Torrey, 1909: Giant Bell Jelly
Phylum Cnidaria / Class Hydrozoa / Order Anthomedusae / Family Polyorchidae
Giant bell jelly (Anthomedusa), Scrippsia pacifica, Monterey Bay, Pacific Ocean

Looking very much like its close relative, Polyorchis, the giant bell jelly is among the larger hydromedusa to visit the waters of Monterey Bay. With a bell up to 10 cm high, this jelly is double the maximum size of Polyorchis penicillatus, and also lacks the distinctive branching of the 4 radial canals. A conspicuous gastric peduncle extends for more than half the length of the bell and terminates with 4 frilly lips. Each radial canal bears 30 to 60 tubular gonads. Up to 256 tentacles line the bell margin, with some originating somewhat above the margin. Conspicuous red ocelli sit at the bases of the smaller tentacles. The bell is transparent, with whitish peduncle, gonads and tentacles. Scrippsia is occasionally found at the surface in Monterey Bay, often in poor condition, but is more an inhabitant of deep, offshore waters. The giant bell jelly is never found in the shallow nearshore habitats favored by Polyorchis. It has been seen from Baja California to northern California.

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