Named for their ghostly, transparent bells, moon jellies have short tentacles that are armed with stinging cells, or “nematocysts”. Fortunately their sting lacks the toxic, painful punch of some other jellies. Moon jellies are one of the most widespread jelly species in the world and are found throughout most of the world’s oceans. There are many variations of this species and new ones are still being added. Moon jellies can grow to between 25 and 40cm in size. Look closely - those four horseshoe-shaped structures you see in the bell of the moon jelly are in fact the jelly's gonads.
Although they’re 95% water, moon jellies are the main diet of leatherback turtles and other marine creatures. Thousands of animals die every year from mistakenly swallowing drifting plastic bags which resemble the gelatinous jellies.
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Moon jellies are 95% water
Thousands of animals a year die after consuming plastic bags, which they've mistaken for jellies
Most people are familiar with jellies as the transparent gelatinous lumps washed up on beaches. Others have painful memories of having been stung by a jelly or bluebottle whilst swimming in the sea. Few will have had the opportunity to view the living animal in its natural environment beneath the waves.