Day 18

02/01/2013

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A crab carries a Cassiopea jelly fish on its back for defense
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The constalation Cassiopeia, depicted sitting in a chair and positioned upside-down
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Upside-down jell fish, sit on the heads
   The Cassiopea is no ordinary jellyfish! It is commonly called the upside-down jelly fish because it sits on its head and spreads its tentacles up into the water column. It lives upside-down during the adult stages of its life in shallow muddy bottoms of mangrove swamps, or inshore bays. These jellies have mucus which can sting and cause an itchy rash on human skin. Embedded within the jelly fish are zooxanthellae algea which are the same tiny organisms that live symbiotically with coral. A symbiotic relationship means the two organisms are dependent on each other for survival. The zooxanthellae algea use photosynthesis to provide the Cassiopea jellyfish with carbon nourishment for respiratory and metabolic needs. There are a few of these upside-down jelly fish in the back of the lagoon at FOS. One was disturbed and floated at the surface, which is where it caught my eye, and Brittany told me how the jellyfish got its name! In Greek mythology a beautiful, yet boastful, queen called Cassiopeia was punished by Poseidon by positioning her constellation to appear upside-down in the sky! If that isn’t interesting enough, the Cassiopea jelly fish is often carried on the backs of crabs to act as protection against predators!

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Upside-down jelly fish tentacles
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Brittany holding the jelly fish (She washed off the mucus so it didn't sting long)
 

Living Florida, COOP, Jenelle Piche