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Upside-down jellyfish discovered at Weymouth SEA LIFE

Upside-down jellyfish has been discovered at Weymouth SEA LIFE (2)

Published at 9:30am 13th February 2018.

For the first time in 10 years, a bloom of upside-down jellyfish has been discovered at Weymouth SEA LIFE after curators found them at the bottom of the park’s garden eel tank.

Cassiopea, or as they are more commonly known, upside-down jellyfish, are rare and hard to come across. However, Kico Iraola, displays supervisor at Weymouth SEA LIFE, made the astonishing discovery of the newborns when cleaning out the garden eels’ tank.

Kico explains: “We previously kept upside-down jellyfish in the same tank many years ago so we believe that some polyps, similar to a sea anemone, must have been dormant buried in the tank’s rocks for all these years. They can remain in the polyp stage for a number of years, feeding continuously using their tentacles to catch food drifting past and waiting for the right conditions for the next stage of development.

“This winter something must have triggered in the tank which caused the polyps to breed and produce the 65 tiny jellyfish newborns which we have discovered today. This process can go on for days so we may have double the jellyfish once the breeding has stopped.

“Currently the jellyfish are around 3mm in diameter and will swim around the tank until they find a suitable spot to settle upside-down and grow. That’s where they get their name from as they are mainly photosynthetic, which means they need to position themselves upside-down to capture the sunlight for them to grow.”

Polyps at Sea Life Weymouth

The rediscovered jellyfish are due to be moved into the park’s nursery where they will be given a tank to themselves once they are full-sized as they will require more space. Once moved, the jellyfish will then be on display to the public. Due to the large quantity of the newborn creatures, some will be housed at other SEA LIFE sites across the county.

Weymouth SEA LIFE is the home to more than 1,000 creatures with 13 different zones containing penguins, sharks, turtles and stingrays. Guests are invited to learn all about these creatures which live in and around the sea and how we can work together to protect them from harm. Caribbean Cove is Dorset’s largest outdoor adventure playground and can offer hours of entertainment along with the park’s Splash Zone. Daily talks and feeding demonstrations are also held at the park to further educate guests about the different species which are present at Weymouth.

For more information about booking your visit to Weymouth SEA LIFE please go to www.visitsealife.com/weymouth/ or call 01305 761070. 

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