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Lions Mane Jellyfish

Scientific name: Cyanea capillata

Phylum:  Cnidaria

Class: Scyphozoa

Description: Large with broad bell flattened at top. It has many arms, with tentacles in 8 clusters on 8 primary lobes. Color and size vary geographically; can be pinkish, yellow and orange-brown, or dark brown and red.

Distribution:  Eastern coast of North America, particularly in North Atlantic .

Locomotion: There are muscles in the bell for contraction, using water to control vertical movement. However, they are mostly dependent on current and tides for movement, making them zooplankton.

Food gathering:  Have stinging apparatus on tentacles called ‘nematocyst’ that bursts and paralyzes prey. Mouth is on the underside of the bell.

Gas exchange: They lack organs for gas exchange, so it occurs by simple diffusion across their bodies.

Reproduction: They undergo sexual reproduction, and sexes are separate. They have a life cycle called ‘alternation of generations’, where the free swimming adult is called a medusa, the sessile juvenile is  called a polyp.

Interesting facts: This is the largest jellyfish, and can grow larger than 1m across. Young fish sometimes huddle beneath their bell and swim with them.