Jellyfish photo: Drymonema catches sea nettles in South Africa

Photo and caption by Geo Cloete

Although Cape Town might not be known as one of “the” dive destinations, I love diving here as the ocean has a raw energy to it not easily matched. As I descendant on this dive, I spotted a rather odd looking jellyfish in the distance. I swam over for a closer look and was intrigued by what I saw, but only learned after the dive what exactly it was. It was two Compass Jellyfish predating on a Crystal Jellyfish. The normally white Crystal Jellyfish has turned beige in colour thanks to the venom from the Compass Jellyfish, which made it difficult to identify it at first.
Location: False Bay, Cape Town
Photo and caption by Geo Cloete

This week’s jellyfish photo comes from the National Geographic 2012 Photo Contest. The photo was taken by Geo Cloete in Cape Town, South Africa. This is a great photo from a region where not much is known of the local jellyfish populations. The caption misidentifies the jellyfish in the middle supposedly being eaten by the sea nettles (The two sea nettles are a very cool species, Chrysaora fulgida). The jellyfish in the middle is not a crystal jellyfish, a hydrozoan, but in fact a specimen of Drymonema sp., a scyphozoan. It is difficult to tell but it appears the Drymonema or ‘pink meanie’ has actually grabbed the two sea nettles and has begun digesting their oral arms. In other parts of the world Drymonema is a voracious moon jelly predator and appears to have similar feeding habits as another jelly, Phacellophora, which is capable of taking down sea nettles as well. This is a great example of predation that goes on between jellies in pelagic waters but illustrates why we need to study this region more. Many of the jellies off the South African coast are poorly understood and need to be reviewed, for more information on jellyfish from South Africa check out the SA Jellywatch page.

About Wyatt

I am a professional jellyfish aquarist in the public aquarium industry. I have worked in marine animal husbandry since the age of 17, it was my first job. I love raising jellyfish, especially new species, and finding better ways of caring for them. Here, I hope to provide great ideas and product suggestions to help you create your own successful jellyfish displays.
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