Sea Nettles

Aptly called nettles these jellyfish sting! They hunt by drifting in the open ocean. When small prey items like crustaceans, larval molluscs, fish eggs and other smaller jellyfish are sensed in the tentacles, hundreds of stinging cells (nematocysts)are fired, which paralyse the prey. Other tentacles then pull the item up into the jellyfish mouth area where it is consumed

Sea nettles swim continuously with tentacles and oral arms extended. They are common of the Californian and Oregon coastlines, and occasionally to British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska northwards, and have been collected as far south as Mexico.

The group (Order Semaeostomeae) that contains sea nettles, also contain other large jellyfish including moon jellies and the largest of all the lion's mane (which can grow to more than 6 feet across at the bell). They typically have four or more frilly oral arms that can be quite long, and a scalloped bell margin.

Like all gelatinous sea creatures their bodies are 99 percent water, and when they wash up on shore they quickly dry out and die.

These still images were taken from video shot at Monterey Bay Aquarium, during the making of the series Shark Gordon, which explains why they appear to be upside down - they are drifting down past the aquarium window.

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