Blue blubbers jellies (Catostylus mosaicus) maintain a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae that live in its tissues. The algae use sunlight to produce food for the jelly, supplementing its diet of zooplankton. The blue blubber does not have tentacles like other jellies. Instead, it has eight oral arms, each of which has many tiny mouths. The blue blubber is harmless to people and cannot sting.
“We’re excited to work with a new jelly,” said Scott Wimmer, Aquarium Assistant Curator. “This is a species we haven’t had here before.”
Blue blubbers are a common species in the Indo-Pacific, where they often occur in large blooms of millions of jellies. These blooms are a nuisance to swimmers, boaters and fishermen, whose nets become clogged with jellies.
Jellies thrive in nutrient-rich, oxygen-poor ocean waters, which are often associated with run-off, pollution and increased temperatures. The increasing sizes and frequencies of jellyfish swarms indicate the ocean’s health is in decline. Guests of the ABQ Biopark Aquarium can learn ways to help protect our ocean’s health and see these new jellies on their next visit.
The BioPark is an accessible facility and a division of the City of Albuquerque’s Cultural Services Department. Contact the BioPark at 311 locally, (505) 768-2000 (Relay NM or 711) or visit http://www.cabq.gov/biopark.
Caption: Blue blubber jellies pulse as they swim through their tank at the Aquarium. Photo courtesy of ABQ BioPark.