5 Facts about Moon Jellyfish: A Photoshoot in the Rotterdam Zoo

The Aquarium in the Rotterdam Blijdorp Zoo contains a beautiful spherical tank with a group of moon jellyfish. The blue lighting makes them look even more magical. All of these jellyfish in the photos below belong to the Aurelia Aurita species, also known as moon jellyfish. They are translucent and live throughout most of the planet’s oceans. Jellyfish (and invertebrates in general) have always fascinated me since they are just so different from mammals or any other type of animal. They might not have a brain, but some do have sensitive nerve nets. After I saw them at the aquarium, I decided that I wanted to know more about these elegant creatures. Today, I’m sharing 5 facts about moon jellyfish!

Facts about moon jellyfish: here they are swimming in a round aquarium

1. Meat Lovers: Moon Jellyfish are Carnivores

I never associated jellyfish with carnivores, but did you know that moon jellyfish are actually meat eaters? Moon jellyfish love to eat mollusks and plankton, but also fish eggs and shrimps. They have a large stomach and will eat whenever they find something floating by.

2. A Huge Habitat: Moon Jellyfish are Super Adaptable

Moon jellyfish are common species around most continents on Earth. They can survive in both warm and cooler waters and have large populations in Canada and Europe. Their numbers have actually been on the rise in recent years, partly because over-fishing has eliminated many of their natural enemies.

A moon jellyfish in a blue aquarium in Rotterdam Zoo

Multiple moon jellyfish floating in a blue aquarium

3. Moon Jellyfish Travel in Social Groups, or ‘Smacks’

You might not expect it, but moon jellyfish are social animals. The jellyfish travel in groups and float around the oceans. These groups are actually called ‘smacks’ of jellyfish. In summer, the jellyfish will try to reproduce with each other every single day. Afterwards, many of them will die, because this process takes up a lot of energy.

A moon jellyfish up close

4. Moon Jellyfish Live Without Brains

Members of the moon jellyfish species live their lives without brains, ears, heart, blood, eyes, or anything you are used to having as a human. Moon jellyfish are basically made of three main elements: 95% water, a mouth, and a digestive system. Simple, right? Apart from that, they also have their own version of a nervous system. They don’t have lungs either, but instead breathe through their membrane.

Two moon jellyfish swim in an aquarium in Rotterdam

5. Moon Jellyfish Can Barely Swim

Moon jellyfish are definitely creatures of the water, but the truth is: they can barely swim. The jellyfish do have some muscles that can help them move, but only to stay close to the water surface. The way they travel through the oceans is actually by relying on the ocean currents.

A small moon jellyfish in a blue aquarium

Aurelia Aurita in Rotterdam

I took these photos on my 20th birthday last year. It was such a great time and it has now become a very fond memory. I hope one day I will get to see more jellyfish in their natural habitat! Even though dogs will probably always be my favourite type of animal, I honestly think jellyfish are the most beautiful. Looking at a jellyfish literally never gets boring, every movement is mesmerizing.


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