The Assateague
Naturalist

Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)
up to about 12-15 inches across

In the summer you'll often see moon jellyfish at Assateague beach either in the water or washed ashore. They might remind you of a large plastic lens with rills and the outline of a four-leaf clover etched in the center (really gonads - not visible in photos). Usually you can handle one without getting a sting (although some people do experience a short burning sensation).

Along the outer edge are about 250 thin, sticky tentacles that catch planktonic organisms. The jellyfish's four oral arms on the underside gather this food and bring it to the mouth.

Moon jellyfish are found along most of the Atlantic coast.

Return to Shells, etc., Menu