Here at Shreveport Aquarium we have a full life cycle culture system for moon jellies on site. In other words, because of the short life span of adult moon jellies, we have cleverly devised a method of growing them ourselves, taking pressure off the need to collect from wild therefore conserving wild stocks.
Jellyfish start life as tiny polyps. In favorable conditions, these polyps eventually begin to bud, forming baby jellyfish (ephyra). In order for this to happen water temperature and nutrients must be just right.
In basic terms we are able to control the rate of reproduction by controlling the water conditions. Once the polyps have budded, the baby jellyfish eat and grow, eventually becoming adult medusas. As they grow they are moved to bigger and bigger tanks and eventually moved on display.
Jellies are key indicator species for the marine environment. Populations of jellies in wild fluctuate depending on water quality conditions such as temperature changes and nutrient loads. They indicate how the food web is performing (some jellies are key predators and some are important prey items). Jellies are important to the diet of some sea turtle species that are endangered and are a vital part of the ocean food web.
Is it safe to touch a jellyfish?
At the Shreveport Aquarium visitors can touch moon jellies in our cold water jelly touch tank! All jellies have stinging cells, which they use to catch and immobilize their prey. While many jellies pack quite a potent stinging punch, moon jellies have stinging cells that are not strong enough to penetrate human skin, so yes you can touch one!