Jellyfish Feeding

Jellyfish Diet Facts and Information


Jellyfish have a mouth that they place food into. Their bodies aren’t very complex but they do have a stomach and intestines. They are carnivores which means that they eat other living creatures. They tend to rely on the current of the water and the wind to help them find food. They trap food in their tentacles and then move it to their mouth. The tentacles are sticky so there is no problem with catching food.

Other Jellyfish that are larger though have the ability to swim vertically rather than just relying on the current and the wind. They consume crustaceans, small fish, and even other smaller species of Jellyfish. They are opportunistic and they will take the time to eat anything that may be available. It is amazing how much plankton they can consume when it is readily available.

They can consume prey that is almost as large as they are too. They don’t mind taking on the larger ones. Their tentacles have powerful toxins that immobilize the prey long enough for them to consume it. They have the ability to detect the slightest movement around them.

By nature the Jellyfish has the response of stinging everything that they come into contact with. This is how they get their prey and are able to take every opportunity to consume food. Unfortunately they can’t tell the difference between humans and their prey. When a human gets sting it is due to the natural processing of the Jellyfish. They don’t have eyes (except the box jellyfish) or a brain. Everything is sensor oriented for them in terms of finding their food.

However, the Jellyfish is highly adaptable and that is why they have been able to survive in so many variables around the oceans. For example when food supplies are scarce they are less likely to take part in creating offspring. This helps to limit the competition they will have for food later on. It helps to keep the balance of things in the ocean in perspective for the Jellyfish species.

They will also do all they can to conserve energy when food supplies are hard to find. This includes not swimming vertically to use up any energy. Instead, they will allow themselves to float along with the wind and the current of the water. They don’t expel any energy that would cause it to be harder for them to survive on so little food for that period of time.

Another survival technique they use is adapting to different temperatures of the ocean and different depths. If food is hard to find they may go deeper into the water or closer to the shore. When large numbers of Jellyfish are found close to the shore it is a prime indicator that they aren’t getting enough food to eat in their natural locations in that body of water.

The stomach of the Jellyfish is a large cavity. Once the prey is in the tentacles it will be taken to the mouth. It will be swallowed whole and then deposited into the stomach. They don’t have teeth or a way to chew up their food. The stomach has special lining that helps to reduce the prey in the stomach into nutrients that the body can use for survival.

The fact that 95% of the body of a Jellyfish is water is really fascinating to experts. They are in awe of the overall feeding abilities of them in spite of only 5% of the body being solid materials. This is why the overall feeding habits of the Jellyfish continues to be something they are interested in. They also strive to identify the varied eating habits of different species of Jellyfish.


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