Moon Jellies are the most common types of jellyfish. They are easily recognizable by its four violet or pink crescent shaped gonads on the underside and at the centre of its translucent bell or umbrella (Aurelia aurita - Moon Jelly).
Ecology and Distribution
"Aurelia aurita are found near the coast, in mostly warm and tropical waters, but they can withstand temperatures as low as -6°C and as high as 31 degrees celsius" (Aurelia aurita, Moon jellyfish).
"Aurelia aurita has two main stages in its life cycle – the polyp stage (asexual reproduction) and the medusa stage (sexual reproduction). A mature polyp reproduces asexually, known as budding forming an entire colony of polyps. Polyps specializing in reproduction produce ephyra (small medusae) by budding. The medusae swim off and mature. They then reproduce sexually. From the egg and the sperm of two medusae, a zygote is formed. The zygote develops into a planula (larva). The planula larva leaves the adult medusae, finds a shaded surface, and attaches itself to it. The planula eventually develops into a new polyp, and the life cycle of the Aurelia aurita starts again" (Aurelia aurita - Moon Jelly).
"Sexual maturity in Aurelia aurita commonly occurs in the spring and summer". “The eggs develop in gonads located in pockets formed by the frills of the oral arms. The gonads are commonly the most recognizable part of the animal because of their deep and conspicuous coloration. The gonads lie near the bottom of the stomach” (Aurelia aurita, Moon jellyfish).
“The moon jelly is a carnivore and it feeds on zooplankton.” They consume foods that include small plankton organisms like mollusks, crustaceans, tunicate larvae, copepods, rotifers, nematodes, young polychaetes, protozoan's, diatoms and eggs (Aurelia aurita, Moon jellyfish).