The Upside-Down Jellyfish, belonging to the genus Cassiopea, is a unique and fascinating species of jellyfish. Here are some characteristics of Upside-Down Jellyfish:
- Body Orientation: Unlike most jellyfish species that swim upright in the water column, Upside-Down Jellyfish prefer to rest upside-down on the seafloor or other substrates. Their bell (body) is typically flattened and has a concave shape.
- Tentacles: The Upside-Down Jellyfish has numerous short, branching tentacles that extend outward from the edges of its bell. These tentacles are covered with specialized stinging cells called nematocysts, which they use to capture prey.
- Coloration: The coloration of Upside-Down Jellyfish can vary, but they are often pale or translucent with shades of brown, tan, or green. Some species may exhibit a slight bluish hue.
- Photosynthetic Symbiosis: One of the unique features of Upside-Down Jellyfish is their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae. The jellyfish host these algae within their tissues, providing them with shelter and nutrients. In return, the algae photosynthesize and provide energy-rich compounds to the jellyfish.
- Habitat: Upside-Down Jellyfish are typically found in shallow, warm coastal waters, including mangroves, lagoons, and shallow reef areas. They prefer areas with sandy or muddy substrates where they can anchor themselves upside-down.
- Feeding Behavior: Upside-Down Jellyfish are primarily filter feeders. They extend their tentacles upward into the water column, capturing small planktonic organisms and organic particles that drift by. They also benefit from the photosynthetic activity of their symbiotic algae, which provides additional nutrients.
It’s worth noting that the common name “Upside-Down Jellyfish” is used for several species within the Cassiopea genus. Each species may have slightly different characteristics and geographic distributions.