Scientific name: Stomolophus meleagris
A cannonball jellyfish can be from milky brown to yellow in color and looks like a large half-egg shaped mushroom. It differs from most other jellyfish by having a more muscular body and by the fact that it is a good swimmer. Cannonball jellyfish swim through the ocean pumping water through their eight arms and thereby catch plankton. The plankton is then transported to the cannonball jellyfish’s mouth.
The cannonball jellyfish is, unlike many other species of jellyfish, very nutrient and contains large quantities of protein in the collagen of their bodies. This makes the cannonball jellyfish a potentially important food source around the world, especially in poorer areas where lack of protein in the diet is a major problem. It is considered a delicates in Japan, and cannonball jellyfish also makes an excellent diet food as it is very low in fat, cholesterol and calories. The cannonball jellyfish nutritional values have caused the international market for this food item to grow. In addition to this, some people hope that the cannonball jellyfish contains secrets for new medicines against arthritis, bronchitis and high blood pressure as well as other diseases. The species has been an important part of Asian medicine for thousands of years.
Cannonball jellyfish are mainly fished by the use of surface trawls. A single school of cannonball jellyfish can consist of several million jellyfish. The cannonball jellyfish unfortunately spoils very fast after being caught and must be processed right away. The processing involves removing the water from the jellyfish by using salt that draws the water from the tissue of the animal. Processed jellyfish can be stored for weeks without going bad and can therefore be exported even to areas far away from the sea.
Cannonball jellyfish reproduce like most other jellyfish and can reproduce both sexually and asexually. They reproduce sexually in the medusa state, the form you normally recognize as a jellyfish. Cannonball jellyfish lay eggs that then develop into planulae which can be described as swimming jellyfish larvae. The planulae eventually settle down on a suitable surface and develop into to polyps and the jellyfish is in this state able to reproduce asexually. The polyps eventually develop into medusas and the circle can begin again.
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