The scientific tourist #74 — moon jellies

This week’s image was taken at San Diego’s Birch Aquarium, but it could just as easily have been taken at any other aquarium of any size — it’s a shot of a group of moon jellyfish:

Moon jellies (Aurelia aurita ) are fairly common jellyfish, harmless to humans, found in temperate waters along the Atlantic coasts of both Europe and North America, and in the Pacific along the coast of North America. But A. aurita is nearly indistinguishable from a dozen or so other related jellyfish (genetic testing being required to differentiate them), and its close relatives can be found in most of the world’s oceans.

A. aurita is an amazingly durable creature given its simplicity — its tissues are so thin that it has no need for respiratory, circulatory, or excretory systems.

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