The Purple-striped Jelly (Chrysaora colorata), also known as the Mauve Stinger, is a species of jellyfish found primarily off the coast of California in Monterey Bay. This species has been studied closely by scientists hoping to gain a better understanding about the creature’s eating habits.
The bell (body) of the jellyfish is up to 27.6 inches in diameter, with a radial pattern of stripes. The tentacles vary with age of each individual, consisting mainly of eight long dark arms, and four central frilly oral arms. The extremely young individual has a pinkish color and the tentacles are long and dark maroon. In adulthood, the dark maroon color of the tentacles begins to fade and the purple appears as stripes on the body.
The young adult’s four frilly oral arms will become longer. When it starts to get older the tentacles thicken and the purple stripes start to darken and the tentacles look pale, and the oral arms begin to disappear.
The Purple-striped Jelly feeds on a variety of organisms including Cladocera, Appendicularia, Copepoda, Hydromedusae, Siphonophpra, and fish eggs. When prey touches the jelly’s tentacles, stingers are immediately discharged to paralyze the prey. The oral arm is used to transport prey to the gastro-vascular cavity (GVC) and to catch motionless prey.
Cancer crabs have been known to make their home inside this jellyfish. It eats the parasitic amphipods that feed on and damage the jelly.
The sting of this jellyfish is extremely painful to humans but is rarely if ever fatal.