Beneath the Waves in California - ecophotog

© Joseph W. Dougherty. All rights reserved.

Tiny juvenile crabs (Cancer gracilis) are commensal hitchhikers seeking a safe haven in the folds and non-stinging tentacles of a large pelagic jellyfish, Chrysaora colorata.

The purple-striped jelly (Chrysaora colorata, formerly Pelagia colorata) is a species of jellyfish that exists primarily off the coast of California in Monterey Bay. The bell (body) of the jellyfish is up to 70 cm (27.6 inches or 2.3 feet) in diameter, typically with a radial pattern of stripes. The tentacles vary with the age of the individual, consisting typically of eight marginal long dark arms, and four central frilly oral arms. It is closely studied by scientists because currently not much is known about their reproductive or eating habits in the wild.

The relationship between the crabs and jelly may be symbiotic, since some believe the crabs are eating parasitic amphipods that feed on and damage the jelly.

Monterey Bay, CA.

Chrysaora colorataPelagia colorataMontereyCarmelCalifornia divingcalifornia underwaterscuba divingpelagicsinvertebratesCalifornia wildlifejellyfishsea jelliesjellycrabsCancer graciliscommensalsymbioticmarine invertebrates35mm slide originalpublishedmy favorites

From California Underwater