What Is the Crystal Jelly?

Also Known as "the Most Influential Bioluminescent Marine Organism"

Crystal Jelly (Aequorea Victoria)

Getty Images/Yiming Chen

The crystal jelly (Aequorea victoria) has been called "the most influential bioluminescent marine organism."

This cnidarian possesses green fluorescent protein (GFP) and a photoprotein (or a protein that gives off light) called aequorin, both of which are used in laboratory, clinical and molecular research. Proteins from this sea jelly are also being studied for use in early detection of cancer.

Description

The aptly named crystal jelly is clear but may glow greenish-blue. Its bell may grow up to 10 inches in diameter.

Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Cnidaria
  • Class: Hydrozoa
  • Order: Leptothecata
  • Family: Aequoreidae
  • Genus: Aequorea
  • Species: victoria

Habitat and Distribution

The crystal jelly lives in pelagic waters in the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver, British Columbia, to central California.

Feeding

The crystal jelly eats copepods, and other planktonic creatures, comb jellies, and other jellyfish.