Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Upside-down jellyfish

Cassiopea spp.

Upside-down jellyfish are usually found on the floor of their habitat. They can swim using contractions of their bell to move through the water, although they are rarely seen doing this. An algae lives inside this jellyfish’s tissue that gives it a food source and its color.

Range & Habitat

The upside-down jellyfish lives in mangrove forests and shallow lagoons along tropical coasts in the

Indo-Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Southern Florida and Hawaii.  This species is rarely found in the open ocean.


Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

This species is the most vulnerable of all jellyfish because its habitat in mangrove forests are among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth due to coastal development and questionable farming practices.


Zooplankton (10% of diet) and nutrients in algae (90% of diet)


Life Span

In the Wild - unknown
In Human Care - up to 4 years

Fun Facts about the Upside-down jellyfish

    By resting upside-down, this jelly exposes its algae to the sun, allowing it to photosynthesize.  The jelly lives off the algae’s byproducts and captures zooplankton for additional energy.

    Rarely found alone, it groups together with other upside-down jellyfish.

    Upside-down jellyfish can sting swimmers, with the sting’s severity ranging from mild to severe.


Australian Museum. (2021). Upside-down Jellyfish.  Retrieved February7, 2021, from

Monterey Bay Aquarium. (n.d.). Upside-down jelly. Retrieved February 7, 2021, from

State of Hawaii. (n.d.). Cassiopea spp. (Upside-down Jellyfish). Retrieved February 7, 2021, from

Updated June 13, 2023
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