Moon Jellyfish : Great Lakes Aquarium

Moon Jellyfish

Exhibits: Critter Corner

Animal Groups: Invertebrates

Latin Name: Aurelia aurita

Wide variety of zooplankton, eggs and larvae of various fish and invertebrates


Found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, in warm, tropical, coastal waters. Tending to stay towards the surface, their optimal temperature range is 48-66 degrees F.

Animal Size: 2-15 inches (5-38 cm)

Natural History

Live both in solitude and in large swarms. Hardly able to move on their own, moon jellies are carried by the current. What small mobility they have comes from pulsing their bell-shaped bodies, but this motion is most effective for drawing food into their mouths. Moon jellies are considered to be an annoyance to many commercial fishermen because they can consume vast amounts of larvae of the commercial fish species. Moon jellies can indirectly cause algae blooms; as they devour large quantities of herbivorous zooplankton, the algae has less predation pressure, allowing algae blooms.