Welcome to the Ocean City Jellyfish (Scyphozoa) page, here we will document through photographs and videos the animals of the Class Scyphozoa, or Jellyfish, we have found around the Ocean City Maryland USA area…
What are Jellyfish?
Though the name implies fish, jellyfish are not fish at all, they have their own Scientific Classification as the Class Scyphozoa. Scyphozoa are exclusively marine animals of the Phylum Cnidaria, consisting of over 10,000 species found in aquatic and marine environments. These Scyphozoa, or Scyphozoans’ have existed from 542 to 635 million years ago (mya).
The distinguishing characteristics of Schyphozoa are:
- Cnidocytes – A structure that fires a toxin into its prey, making it easy to capture, or it’s enemy to repel it. That toxin is the ‘sting’ that we humans feel when we encounter one of these creatures.
- Two Life Phases – Known as the medusa, the jellyfish form they take during the summer months, and the polyp form where they are bottom dwellers that give birth to more medusa
- Jellyfish bodies are made up of a non-living substance called mesoglea
- Surrounding the bodies (mesoglea) is the epithelium, a one cell type of ‘skin’
Scientific Classification (Taxonomy) of Ocean City Jellyfish:
Kingdom: Animalia >> Phylum: Cnidaria >> Subphylum: Medusozoa >> Class: Scyphozoa
How Many Species of Scyphozoa Are There?
There are currently about 200 living, or extant, species identified, though there are thought to be upwards of 400 species.
How Many Species of Scyphozoa are in Maryland?
In Maryland there are three species of Scyphozoa:
- Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)
- Sea nettle (Chrysaora quinquecirrha)
- Lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata)
Learn more about Maryland Scyphozoa… Click Here!
How Many Ocean City Jellyfish (Scyphozoa) Are There?
Currently there is one species of Scyphozoa identified in Ocean City MD, the Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), of which you will find abundant amounts in the Isle of Wight Bay and the Assawoman Bay, and their tributaries.