The body of Chrysaora quinquecirrha is mainly composed of an outer epidermis cup, an inner gastrodermis layer, and tentacles. Along the outside of the rim of the umbrella cup are long, skinny tentacles, which may grow up to 50 centimeters. The dome-shaped body of the jellyfish is approximately 25 centimeters in width, and has 8 scalloped, flower-petal shaped lobes from which tentacles extend. Each octant bears around 7 to 10 tentacles, all of which are lined with nematocysts (specialized stinging organelles). Four long, ribbon-like oral arms extend from the middle of the umbrella. The arms bring food up to the mouth, which is the only opening comprising the digestive system. This opening is lined with thousands of small mouthlet pores. The adult Atlantic sea nettle’s body is an opaque white color, often with red streaks or dots visible through the cup and tentacles. The life of C. quinquecirrha is dominated by two main cycles, each with a distinct body plan. First, the jellyfish live as a sessile polyp, then as a mobile medusa. The polyp stage is characterized by strobilation, in which the segmented polyp asexually produces young medusa. The medusa is the second stage of the life cycle.
Average length: 50 cm.
Average wingspan: 25 cm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; radial symmetry ; polymorphic ; venomous
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
- Costello, J., S. Colin, J. Dabiri. 2008. Medusan morphospace: phylogenetic constraints, biomechanical solutions, and ecological consequences. Invertebrate Biology, 127(3): 265-290.