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What Do Jellyfish Eat?

What Do Jellyfish Eat?

Jellyfish are found in seas all over the world.  These animals are part of the subphylum Mendusozoa family and all subspecies have umbrella-shaped bodies with trailing tentacles.  A few jellyfish species are not mobile but most can move fairly easily about the ocean.

These animals are not too easy to keep as pets but some species like the Moon Jellyfish are fairly popular in home seawater aquariums.  Jellyfish are also kept in most large aquariums as a tourist attraction because they can be so beautiful when a colored light shines on their translucent bodies.

What Do Jellyfish Eat?

Adult jellyfish are mostly carnivores.  They are terrific predators because their stinging tentacles allow them to subdue their prey so they can easily catch and feed on these foods.  Jellyfish enjoy eating all sorts of foods such as the following;

Small Plants

Adult jellyfish typically do not eat sea plants but young jellyfish can feed on various plant matter items.  They enjoy eating foods like phytoplankton, seaweed, algae, and other plant foods they find in the sea.  Since baby jellyfish are quite small, they do tend to focus on small plants or drifting plants they find in the sea.

Fish Eggs

Fish eggs are a very good food source for jellyfish because these foods are easy to catch, easy to consume, and rich in protein.  Jellyfish love to linger in common breeding grounds for various fish species.  This is often problematic for fish species since these animals do tend to consume anything small and nutritious leaving fish and fry very little to eat.

Small Fish

Jellyfish use their tentacles to sting and immobilize their food.  They also use these tentacles to draw foods into their mouths for consumption.  They eat just about any type of small fish species or baby fish they can find and they are terrific hunters.

Marine Animals

These jellies may be soft and squishy but they can eat a huge variety of tough foods.  Adult jellyfish and large species of jellyfish are happy to catch and eat lobsters, shrimps, barnacles, crabs, and many other crustaceans.  Small jellyfish may also feed on zooplankton which consists of the fry of thousands and thousands of small fish and marine animals.

Other jellyfish

Not all jellyfish will feed on other animals of their own species but some species are cannibalistic.  These marine animals may even eat their own young to get the energy they need or to stay nourished if local foods are scarce.

Seawater

Jellyfish do not have an anus.  Waste foods and feces exit their bodies via their mouths.  They use seawater to flush waste food from their bodies.  These animals also mostly consist of seawater.

Diet Variations

Jellyfish will eat just about anything small enough for them to consume.  Their ability to eat various food types and their large appetites can result in food scarcities for smaller sea animals and fish species if a large cloud of jellyfish lingers in that specific habitat.

How to Feed Jellyfish?

In aquariums, jellyfish are fed by simply adding their foods to their tanks.  Adult jellyfish are happy to prey on and catch live animals such as small fish and young jellyfish love to eat plant foods or brine shrimp that are added to the tank.

What Do Baby Jellyfish Eat?

Baby jellyfish are called ephyrae.  When males and females reproduce, they create tiny planulae that fall to the ocean bottom.  These deposits will then turn into polyps and will create small buds.  Pretty soon, ephyrae or baby jellyfish are formed.

Small jellies will eat foods like plankton, fish eggs, tiny fish, plants, and lots of tiny creatures they find in the sea.

In captivity, baby jellies are kept on baby brine shrimp that is introduced to the thank regularly for feeding.

How Much Do Jellyfish Eat?

Jellyfish species are quite diverse.  Some are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and others can be quite large.  As you can imagine, these different species consume different amounts of food based on their size.

Unlike most fish and animal species, jellyfish will grow larger with every meal.  The more it eats, the bigger it gets.  When less food is available, the jellyfish will also start to shrink in size.

How Often Do Jellyfish Eat?

These aquatic animals should be fed daily but this may depend on the size of your tank.  In small aquariums, food is withheld from jellyfish to keep them nice and small.  If your jellyfish is growing too large, you may choose to offer food every 3 – 4 days instead of daily to help keep their size in check.

Can Humans Eat Jellyfish?

Jellyfish are edible but they are only consumed in certain cultures.  In Asian countries, this aquatic animal is considered a delicacy.  Most people do however use this animal for research purposes and not for eating.  Jellyfish need to be prepared using a very specific method.  They are pressed to remove excess saltwater.

Can Jellyfish Bite?

These animals do not bite but they may sting you.  They have long tentacles that are filled with venom.  The effect of their stings may vary from specie to specie.  In most cases, their stings result in pain and red irritated marks on the skin.

Are jellyfish dangerous?

It is best to avoid direct contact with jellyfish at all costs.  The venom in their stingers is designed to paralyze their target.  When these animals sting you, it is not just very painful, it could even be deadly. Paralysis can result in drowning and the pain of getting stung or the injection of venom can cause cardiovascular reactions.

What Are The Predators Of Jellyfish?

There are quite a few animals that feed on jellyfish. Spadefish, sunfish, sea turtles, and other jellyfish all may hunt and feed on these animals.  Humans are also a very common predator for this aquatic animal.  Animals and humans that do decide to feed on jellyfish should however be careful when hunting jellyfish because these animals can be so dangerous.