Rare First for a California Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium now hosts Crown Jellies, a big deal indeed.

THE CARE AND KEEPING OF JELLIES: Ask anyone who has owned a home aquarium this question: Is it a snap to keep and care for the creatures of the deep? The answer is, of course, no, it is not, not if it is done properly. But the care and keeping of some oceanic denizens can be far more challenging. Take Crown Jellies, for example. They've never been aquarium regulars, like some other jellies, due to a number of factors, but chief among them was always the issue of "(s)imulating the pelatic (open-ocean) environment to which the species is accustomed." That quote is from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which just achieved a first for any aquarium anywhere: They unlocked the secret how to house Crown Jellies. The aquarium's celebrity jellies, which hailed from Indo-Pacific waters via a zoo in Berlin, are now on display at the aquarium's The Jellies Experience. And this is, indeed, a first for any aquarium on the planet.

THE FASCINATING DETAILS: "Though many institutions have tried, ours was the first to unlock the secret of raising crown jelly polyps to adulthood," says the aquarium. These particular creatures also have a habit of sticking "to the sides of a display" where they then degrade. "So we had to make a small exhibit space seem like the open ocean," says Senior Aquarist Wyatt Patry. We hate to give away the solution, but we will say the aquarium's ingenious answer came in the form of an everyday packing material.

BEAUTIFUL DRIFTERS: The science behind the Crowns is extremely interesting, but let us also pause to admire their diaphonous beauty. They do look quite different from other jellies you're likely to see in an aquarium, with their spiking orb shape and purple hue. Thank you, Monterey Bay Aquarium, for introducing us to yet another elusive wonder of the deep.

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