AUSTRALIAN SPOTTED JELLYFISH or WHITE SPOTTED JELLYFISH
This gorgeous shot was taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Phyllorhiza punctata is a species of jellyfish, also known as the Australian spotted jellyfish or the White-spotted jellyfish. It is native to the southwestern Pacific, where it feeds primarily on zooplankton. P. punctata average 45-50 cm in bell diameter but there had been a maximum reported size of 62 cm. However, in October, 2007, one 72 cm. wide, perhaps the largest ever recorded, was found on Sunset Beach, NC. In July 2007 smaller ones were seen in Bogue Sound much further north along the North Carolina Coast. They have only a mild venom and are not considered a threat to humans. However, their ability to consume plankton and the eggs and larvae of important fish species is cause for concern. Each jellyfish can filter as much as 13,200 gallons of sea water per day. While doing that, it ingests the plankton that native species need.
True jellyfish, Phylum Cnidaria, go through a two stage life cycle which consists of a medusa stage (adult) and a polyp stage (juvenile). In the medusa stage male jellyfish release sperm into the water column and the female jellyfish gathers the sperm into her mouth where she holds the eggs. Once fertilization occurs and larvae are formed they leave their mother and settle to the ocean floor. Once on the bottom a polyp form occurs and this form reproduces asexually by “cloning” or dividing itself into other polyps. Jellyfish can live for up to five years in the polyp stage and up to two years in the medusa stage.