Translucent with shades of indigo, violet, blue, pink and turquoise, Moon Jellyfish glide through water like sea ghosts.
I encountered these otherworldly creatures at the Baltic Sea Centre in at Skansen, the open air zoo, in Stockholm. Once I had spotted them I was completely transfixed. They magically moved without movement. One second they were translucent, then the next the transparent.
But what fascinated me the most was the four bright luminous horseshoe shapes at the centre of the jellyfish. These loops glowed in the dark and looked like artificial florescent neon tubes.
Curious, I read the information about the Moon Jelly fish which was next to the tank. I learned that:
- Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia Aurita) get their name from the bluish or pinkish bell, which resembles a full moon
- They are fringed with short tentacles which are lined with nematocysts, or stinging cells.
- The four-loop pattern on the bell are the sexual organs of the jellyfish. Most Moon Jellyfish have four horseshoe-shaped reproductive organs, but a few have three or five.
- The bell and gonads (their words not mine) may be translucent white, pink, blue, or purple, depending on the animal’s diet.
After reading this information I felt like a bit of a pervert in that I had been transfixed by their private parts. These jellyfish were literally wafting their private parts to all and sundry.
Blushing, I read on:
- Jellyfish typically release sperm and eggs into the water, where the eggs are fertilized. But in Moon Jellyfish, the female receives the sperm through the mouth and her eggs are fertilized internally.
I know I should be fascinated by the amazing world of nature, but the more I read, the more I wanted to vomit. In short the genitalia of the Moon Jellyfish had left an indelible mark on me. To be honest wish I hadn’t read the plaque next to the tank. I guess that sometimes too much knowledge is not necessarily a good thing.
Anyway, here is a video I took of the Moon Jellyfish before I read the small print.