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How Do Jellyfish Eat Food?, What do They Eat? + How they digest food

How Do Jellyfish Eat Food?  – Everything you need to know

Do you sometimes wonder how Jellyfish eat in the water and how they digest their food?

We’ve done a lot of study and research on Jellyfish. We have provided you with everything you would possibly like to know about a jellyfish’s eating habits.

How do jellyfish eat?

A jellyfish does not actively search for food. It preys on nearby plankton floats. However, they can push themselves forward to attract food. Jellyfish have between 4 and 8 mouthparts to grab food from their tentacles and mouth.

But this is going to be a very short summary.

There is much more to say below. We’ve found lots of fun facts and quirky features about Jellyfish. They are just as outrageous and funny as they look!

Jellyfish are Known to be extraordinary animals..

They are unique because they have a rare and very simple nervous system compared to other kinds of sea animals and humans. And they tend to eat whatever happens to be around, depending on their size.

So it’s nice to explore how they manage to do basic things like eating and breeding.

The Jellyfish Anatomy
The Jellyfish Anatomy


What is a JellyFish?

Jellyfish have been roaming and drifting in the ocean currents for millions of years, even before dinosaurs lived on Earth.

Jellyfish-like creatures pulse along the ocean currents and are abundant in cold and warm ocean waters, deep water, and shorelines. But despite the names, jellyfish aren’t actually fish – they’re invertebrates or animals without backbones.

Jellyfish tentacles have tiny stinging cells that stun or paralyze their prey before they eat them. Inside their bell-shaped body is an opening that is its mouth. They eat and discard the waste from this opening.

When jellyfish sрlаsh wаter frоm their mоuths, they drift оn. The соmb jellies hаng dоwn frоm the smооth sасk-like bоdy аnd sting the рrey.

Stinging jellyfish саn be раinful аnd sоmetimes very dаngerоus fоr humаns. But jellyfish dо nоt deliberаtely аttасk humаns. Mоst stings оссur when рeорle ассidentаlly tоuсh а jellyfish. Still, if the sting is frоm а dаngerоus sрeсies, it саn be fаtаl.

Jellyfish digest their fооd very quiсkly. They wоuld nоt be аble tо hоver if they hаd tо саrry а lаrge undigested meаl.

Jellyfish Digestive System

The Jellyfish dо nоt hаve а sрeсiаl digestive system. Fооd enters the Jellyfish thrоugh the mоuth, whiсh is lосаted in the middle оf the bell.

The fооd then gets trаррed in the gаstrоvаsсulаr саvity, аnd nutrients аre аbsоrbed in the gаstrоdermis. Sоlids аlsо раss оut thrоugh the mоuth.

jellyfish digestive system
Jellyfish Digestive System

How do Jellyfish Eat Their Food?

Let’s dig in a step deeper and look at the answer in more detail.

As we looked at the introduction to this article, Jellyfish do not actively search for food. It passively floats around and feeds on whatever plankton-type food is floating around.

The Jellyfish does not have a brain, so it depends more on mechanics and the main food it feeds on.


Here’s how they do it in more detail:

First, the tentacles of the JellyFish get’s the food. The Jellyfish has really long tentacles, which are used primarily to catch food.

The plankton passes by the animal, and when it does, it gets caught in the tentacles. In some species, these tentacles can reach up to 3 meters (!).

This is a fairly passive process (remember, Jellyfish has no brain) where some smaller Jellyfishes just happen to get caught in the small part of the food chain.

When the food touches the commissures, it is poisoned. So if it’s not dead yet, it will be soon. First, the little animal is paralyzed and eventually killed so the Jellyfish can eat it.

Some larger jellyfish have a needle-like stinging threaded that is curled into it, which it can be thrown towards his prey when hunting:

The Jellyfish Oral arm help put food into their mouth

Among many tentacles, some jellyfish have parts known as mouthparts. These long appendages carry the catch into the jellyfish mouth, usually located on the underside of the bell.

Some species even have the mouth completely burrowed. These jellies feed directly through the openings of the oral cavity.

The oral cavities near the mouth capture this food and transport it to the mouth.

They are much smaller and shorter than tentacles and actively grab plankton and move it the rest of the way to the mouth. The mouth is placed in the middle of the animal and is directly connected to the stomach.

The mouth mostly looks like a small hole. It’s a very simple mouth that only does basic things, such as directing food into the stomach and releasing water to move the body forward. So the mouth is also responsible for moving the animal around.

The digestive system of the jellies

The Jellyfish does not actively search for food. It preys on nearby plankton floats. The plankton got into its mouth. It’s time for the digestive system to take over. Something they have with sea bubbles.

As soon as the food gets out of the Jellyfish’s mouth, it gets into the stomach. It’s as simple as that.

The digestive system provided by Jellyfish is so simple it doesn’t even have a liver, pancreas, or intestines!

So how does it digest food?

It uses its ‘coelenteron,’ which does the same thing as your stomach and intestines. It’s where we find lots of enzymes that help it digest food. Food is digested by cells in the stomach, and the rest is spat out again.

Jellies have no blood or blood vessels, so there is no real circulatory system.


No bottom!

Of course, if the Jellyfish eat, it must go to waste.

But one fun fact about these jellies is that they have no anus. So food waste has to come out the same way it came in:

Jellyfish mouth!

When water flows in and out of the mouth of a jellyfish, it carries out the ‘garbage’ (excrement). There is no extra space for the next piece of food to come in and be transported to the mouth. Water circulates food and oxygen inside the Jellyfish to give it what it needs to live.

Jellyfish eat their food quickly.

They always eat their food super fast because they can’t really swim around in the stuff. But it also makes sense because they only eat tiny bits, so there’s not much to digest anyway.


What do jellyfish eat?

It depends on the size of the Jellyfish’s body.

So let me start by dividing all the jellies into larger and smaller categories. It’s a broad categorization, but I’ll try my best to give you the information as simply as possible.

What do Smaller JellyFish eat?

Smaller jellies are what we call “predators.”

This means that they feed on all the different tiny organisms you find floating in the sea.


These include:

  • Plankton
  • Fish eggs (full of protein!).
  • Plankton (protein-protein – nourishing food)
  • Plants
  • + a ton of other tiny creatures


In areas where there are lots of jellies, this can be a problem for smaller fish, as jellies will eat anything that is small and has food.

So smaller fish have to look elsewhere for food if there are too many jellies. Moreover, this is not a big problem, as the fish are much smarter and will figure it out quickly.

Jellies don’t swim after them because they are not that smart. They just float around in the water like a big fog of unconscious fish.

And many Jellyfish swim together; it’s called a bloom. A jellyfish set is called “bloom.” A bloom can contain millions of swimming Jellyfish, and they regularly cause problems for fish and fishermen.

When this occurs, you just have to wait for the current to carry them in the other direction.

how do jellyfish eat food - bloom


What does Big Jellyfish eat?

Some of the larger jellies can actively capture and kill larger organisms with their poisonous needles, as we mentioned above.

It can release its sting whenever the animal triggers it by touching the long, rounded hummingbirds hovering around it.

If it happens to catch and kill the animal (or knock it unconscious), it will try to get a mouthful.

These are some of the animals eaten by larger jellies:

  • Lobsters
  • Shrimps
  • Barnacles
  • Crabs
  • Plants
  • Other jellies (!) etc.


Bigger Jellyfish can also eat other smaller Jellyfish.

So it actually has cannibalistic behavior. But remember, it has no brain, so it is not really “aware of its actions” of what goes into its mouth. It has to feed on whatever is floating by.

It basically eats whatever comes along; even though it has a super-simple digestive system, it has the capabilities of eating a broad variety of foods!

Who eats Jellyfish?

Jellys themselves are also constantly at risk of being eaten by animals such as these:

  • Spadefish
  • Sunfish
  • Sea turtles
  • Other Jellyfish
  • People

As we just mentioned, some jellies are also considered a delicate meal for humans.

The so-called “Cannonball Jellyfish” is sometimes served inexpensive restaurants. Particularly in Asia, where they are part of the booming seafood business.

Jellyfish are also of great export value to the US state of Georgia.

They are sold to seafood distributors throughout Japan, China, and Thailand, ending up on the dinner table. They are dried and packaged before shipment.

According to Wikipedia, Mexico harvested 20,000 tonnes of Jellyfish (equivalent to $3.5 million) in just three months.


Questions people also ask.


Can JellyFish Kill you?

Stinging jellyfish can be deadly because the creature’s venom is contained in the tentacles of the spine. If you encounter these tentacles, the jellyfish can poison you instantly.

Not all stings cause death.  However, all of the people stung developed serious symptoms within minutes.


Jellyfish Attack: Woman was stung by deadly jellyfish
Jellyfish Attack: Woman was stung by deadly jellyfish – source –

Can a Jellyfish Eat a Human?

Jellyfish tentacles have tiny stinging cells that stun or paralyze their prey before they eat them. Inside their bell-shaped body is an opening that is its mouth. They eat and discard the waste from this opening.  But jellyfish do not deliberately attack humans.

Are jellyfish good for anything?

Yes, JellyFish are very valuable animals in the ocean. We should certainly respect them and not harm them. They are food for many marine animals, such as big fish and turtles. They can also protect small fish from predators with their stinging cells.

What Kills Jellyfish?

Other predators. Other jellyfish species are the most common and important jellyfish predators. Sea anemones can eat jellyfish that drift into their range. Other predators include tuna, sharks, swordfish, sea turtles, and penguins.

What is a jellyfish baby?

The term ‘jellyfish’ is a Marshallese moniker for the disturbingly common birth defect of children born with a transparent skin and no visible bones. These babies are unable to survive outside the womb for more than a few days.

Can Vegans Eat JellyFish?

No, vegans cannot eat jelly babies because they are animals. Veganism refuses to consume any animal. However, because jellyfish do not have a brain or a heart, unlike other animals, many people consider them to plant because they cannot feel pain.

Why do jellyfish have tattoos?


The meaning behind jellyfish tattoos

Not all jellyfish tattoos have to be meaningful, but many people get them because of their unique and realistic meaning.

Jellyfish tattoos symbolize immortality, as they can return and clone themselves.  Many people who love marine life or living near the sea get a jellyfish tattoo.


See also: Top 30 animals with glowing eyes at night



Reference to: Wikipedia and Ramdigestivesystem

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