Photos: The Colorful Life of Flower Hat Jellies

The Life of a Jelly

A diagram of the jelly's life-cycle

(Image credit: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2014 MBARI)

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.


The polyps of a flower-hat jelly

(Image credit: Thomas Knowles © Monterey Bay Aquarium)

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.

Young Jelly

A ghostly juvenille flower-hat jelly

(Image credit: Thomas Knowles © Monterey Bay Aquarium)

A ghostly juvenile flower-hat jelly in a tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Juvenile "medusae" spawn from polyps and grow into adults.

Glowing Jelly

The jelly under blue light

(Image credit: Thomas Knowles © Monterey Bay Aquarium)

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

An adult flower-hat jelly

(Image credit: Randy Wilder © Monterey Bay Aquarium.)

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.

Amazing Glow

A flower-hat jelly under blue light

(Image credit: Randy Wilder/Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Under blue light, an adult flower hat jellyfish shows off its amazing fluorescence. The creatures only live for about 6 months.

Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.