Chrysaora quinquecirrha is the scientific name for the Atlantic Coast Sea Nettle, a bell-shaped invertibrate typically found in warm or tropical open water. It has stinging tentacles that it uses to immobilize its prey: things like zooplankton, other jellies, crustaceans, minnows, and larvae.
It does the same thing to predators by stinging them and injecting its venoms into their flesh. While this venon can cause death in smaller creatures, in larger animals the venom produces a paralyzing effect that gives the sea nettle time to escape the predator.
Nettles don't "attack" humans per se but they will sting those who get too close as part of their natural survival strategy, causing a very painful rash in the process. Swimmers fear them for this reason. When found on a sandy beach they look like glass domes...be sure not to step on one of them!
These photos were taken at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. The aquarium's tank lighting gives the nettles a coloration that is not observed in the natural state but it highlights their biological attributes very well for educational purposes.
Photographing sea nettles in a tank environment, especially in a popular aquarium setting, is difficult. Besides trying to squeeze in among the adoring crowds to take photographs, flash is impossible against the glass. In addition, the nettles are adrift in slow-motiones acrobatics.
This first image gives you an idea of what the tank environment looks like generally: you don't see them but imagine thousands of fingerprints (!) on top of everything else.
Atlantic Sea Nettle
Distribution of the Chrysaora quinquecirrah
Sea Nettle Jellyfish
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