Photos: The Colorful Life of Flower Hat Jellies
The Life of a Jelly
When it comes to mating in captivity, flower hat jellies are just as fussy as their appearance. The species' life cycle had been a mystery until scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium were able to reproduce the animals in captivity and study them. This diagram shows the main life stages of the flower hat jellyfish.
Polyps of the flower hat jelly attached to strands of plastic in a tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Polyps form from larvae and they spawn juvenile jellies.
A ghostly juvenile flower-hat jelly in a tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Juvenile "medusae" spawn from polyps and grow into adults.
Even from a young age, flower hat jellies have fluorescent parts. This photo of a young medusa was shot under blue light with a yellow filter to show the parts of the jelly that fluoresce. The species, scientifically named Olindias formosus, is found in the West Pacific near Japan.
All Grown Up
This image shows a flower-hat jelly in all its splendor as an adult. The tightly curled tentacles are used to nab prey. The species tend to lurk on the seafloor during the day and swim through the water column at night looking for fish.
Under blue light, an adult flower hat jellyfish shows off its amazing fluorescence. The creatures only live for about 6 months.
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