Range/Geographical Distribution: From New England to Brazil in the Atlantic and from California to Ecuador and the Sea of Japan and the South China Sea in the Pacific.
Habitat: Estuarine and ocean waters along the coast.
Description: A hemispherical peach/gray bell with a red/brown border. Has 16 short oral arms at the base of the bell.
Size: Can reach ten inches in diameter and weigh 50 ounces.
Breeding: The medusa realease gametes and fertilized eggs turn into planula. The planktonic planula larvae attach to a substrate and metamorphosize into a scyphistoma. Scyphistomae eat and grow and then can reproduce asexually by budding or by strobiliation where ephyra are released. The ephyra then grow into medusa, the sexual stage that is recognizably a sea jelly.
Predators: Crabs, fish, and leatherback sea turtles.
Conservation Status: No legal status but they are an important food source for endangered leatherback sea turtles.
Interesting Facts: Cannonball jellies form symbiotic relationships with at least ten species of fish as well as juvenile spider crabs. The latin name of this jelly means “many-mouthed hunter.” The cannonball’s lifespan is three to six months.
On the Coast: Cannonball jellies are the most common sea jelly along the Georgia coast. Their stinging cells do not usually harm humans and they often wash up dead on the beach. Jelly “balling”, fishing for sea jellies, occurs in Georgia and the jellies are sent to Asian markets for consumption.