Usually found drifting close to shore, the cannonbell jelly occurs in the Western Atlantic, including parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Bahamas and West Indies; Chesapeake Bay to Florida and Texas. Very round and bulbous in stature with short feeding arms. The cannonball jelly is mostly translucent with a brownish border to its bell. Extending below the bell is the feeding apparatus. The cannonball jelly uses this to filter plankton and zooplankton from the water.
  • Size

    Up to 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm)
  • Diet

    Diet consists of plankton and zooplankton
  • Range

    Occurs in the Western Atlantic
  • Habitat

    Found primarily drifting close to shore

Physical Characteristics

  • When fully grown, the cannonball jelly can reach 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm).
  • Very round and bulbous with short feeding arms, the cannonball jelly is mostly translucent with a brownish border to its bell.
  • The bell has eight sensory spots called rophalia. These sense light and body position, and also control the rate of the bells contraction.

Animal Fact

The Latin name of the cannonball jelly, Stomolophus meleagris, means “many-mouthed hunter.”

Diet / Feeding

  • Extending below the bell is the feeding apparatus. The cannonball jelly uses this to filter plankton and zooplankton from the water.
  • Cannonball jelly has no true tentacles. Planktonic animals are trapped on the surface of the feeding apparatus by means of sticky mucus.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic, including parts of the Gulf of Mexico. Bahamas and West Indies; Chesapeake Bay to Florida and Texas.
  • Usually found drifting close to shore.

Conservation Status

  • “Not evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • The Latin name of the cannonball jelly, Stomolophus meleagris, means “many-mouthed hunter.”
  • This animal is also known as the “jellyball.”
  • Cannonball jelly is a very important prey item for the endangered leatherback sea turtle.
  • TEDs (turtle excluder devices), are also proven to exclude the fully grown cannonball jelly.

Sources

  • www.dnr.sc.gov
  • Meinkoth, N. National Audobon Society field guide
  • Ruppert, E. and Fox, R. Seashore Animals of the Southeast
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