What Eat Jellyfish| Top 6 Jellyfish Predators

Although jellyfish may seem helpless, they play a vital role in the marine food web.

Jellyfish, despite their harsh tentacles, are still killed by various animals. Sunfish,  Sea turtles, and some birds are predators of jellyfish. Specific animals have adapted to chasing jellyfish.

Here we will discuss what eat jellyfish.

Marine turtles:

Marine turtle eating jellyfish

Marine turtles, which can reach up to 6 to 9 feet in size, are one of the predators that eat jellyfish. The exoskeleton of a sea turtle helps it to catch jellyfish easily. Most people cannot pierce it. Hence, the jellyfish cannot prick them as they often do.

Leatherback sea turtles are the singular species that feed almost only on jellyfish. The leatherback sea turtle can weigh about 200 to 750 kilograms, making it the most prominent marine turtle species. The leatherback sea turtle significantly affects the jellyfish population because it likes to eat sea jellies.

Six other species, except the leatherback sea turtle, also feed on jellyfish. They include the green sea turtle, flatback sea turtle, olive ridley turtle, and hawksbill sea turtle. Few species have developed thick throat tips to keep jellyfish in place, contributing to the danger posed by plastic debris to these animals.

Sharks:

Although sharks are known to be one of the most challenging predators in the marine world and are also known to consume jellyfish, the blue, tiger, great white, hammerhead, and thresher sharks are the most famous species among the 500 that even cruise the seas and oceans.

The shark frequently ambushes its clueless prey because it is first in the marine food chain. Regrettably, this jellyfish predator has the power to eat smaller jellyfish in only one bite quickly and efficiently. The shark can seal onto more giant sea jellies and utilize its lips to form a seal before pulling apart the soft shell by turning its body.

Sunfish: What Eat Jellyfish

The ocean sunfish called the common Mola, is one of the world’s most giant bony fishes. It is often found in temperate and equatorial areas and has a flat, harsh gray body. Numerous people misunderstand the ocean sunfish as a “fish skull flanked by a tail” due to its unusual shape. They are nearly flat and spheroidal and have extensive fins on their backs.

The Mola is a common predator with a broad range of foods, although it is known to swallow a bunch of jellyfish in its diet. The sea sunfish prey on jellyfish, larvae, crabs, fish, and squid. Humans, who think the ocean sunfish a delicacy, are resistant to its attack, unlike its predators.

Tuna:

Tune eats jellyfish

The tuna is a saltwater fish with two dorsal fins on its rear and a predator that eats jellyfish. It is an innovative and elegant creature. Only 15 distinct species of tuna fish live in the world today. Although tuna is famous, Yellowfin, Albacore, bluefin, and Bigeye tuna are the most sought-after due to their fast swimming ability. Tuna is a terrifying predator to multiple creatures, including jellyfish.

The bluefin tuna is known for its incredible enthusiasm for eating jellyfish, and with the ability to hunt from night to till daylight, it’s arguably the most adept at doing so. Their flavor is highly valued worldwide, leading to strict governmental protections for several species. They prefer moderate to tropical conditions in the southern and northern hemispheres and eat jellyfish, crabs, and smaller fish.

Penguins:

Despite their attractive appearance, penguins are the predators of jellyfish that consume jellyfish and other aquatic animals‘ worst fear. Penguins are often located in the Southern Hemisphere. These adorable marine birds are the rare predators that vigorously pursue jellyfish. These flightless birds occupy the Southern Hemisphere, especially near the polar area, and are trained at swimming in the sea. Their site is mainly in the southern hemisphere, around the opposite end.

Thanks to their powerful fins, they can “fly” submarines, and their incredible swimming agility helps them both chase and flee from predators. The Galapagos penguin, a particular species, can be sprinkled in the area of the equator. Penguins are famous for their specific black-and-white coloration. They have flippers that correspond to those of birds, which they employ for swimming. 

The small blue penguin, also known as the pixie penguin, is the smallest species, size 13 inches. The penguin spends its life underwater, detecting its prey on its path to its favorite place. To the researchers’ surprise, a current study found that jellyfish are a considerable part of their diet. The reasons for this are unknown to scientists.

Jellyfish:

species of jellyfish are known to feed on smaller jellyfish

Some species of jellyfish are known to feed on smaller jellyfish. The smaller jellyfish usually become prey for their gigantic, umbrella-shaped counterparts. There are around 2,000 jellyfish species worldwide. They are not selective eaters and will eat other jellyfish if they come near them.

Jellyfish do not follow or ambush their prey. They lack the power to do so because of their brainless personality. Instead, they feed on different food sources and their fellow sea jellies. They utilize their vast tentacles as a trip line to grab smaller jellyfish. Once a little jellyfish enters the tentacles, the predator discharges its nematocysts, which paralyze or destroy the seized creature. The jellyfish then turns its tentacles to bring the feed into its mouth.

The jellyfish catches prey with its stingers while consuming. These stingers paralyze the creature, making it more comfortable to digest. As its bell-shaped dome grows, it absorbs more water and the marine life that arrives with it before using predatory manners once the food basis is within reach.

Conclusion: What Eat Jellyfish

Jellyfish, despite being top marine predators, usually fall prey to other sea creatures. Multiple marine animals, such as sharks, sea turtles, and penguins, depend on it as a nutrition source. Unfortunately, specific species of jellyfish are also eaten by other jellyfish.