Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!


Jellies: Living Art

Jellies Living Art
Jellies capture the imagination as they pulse inside specially designed displays next to striking studio glass. Experience the beauty of this unique new gallery.


Sea Walnut

Mnemiopsis leidyi

ON EXHIBIT:  Jellies: Living Art exhibit at Ocean Journey

Sea Walnut

Sea walnuts are not true jellyfish, instead they belong to a group of animals know as comb jellies.  Comb jellies have no stinging cells, but instead use sticky mucous to catch their prey.  These animals get their name from rows of paddle-like hairs called combs.  Like tiny prisms, the combs refract visible light into a pulsing rainbow.

In the 1980’s comb jellies were accidentally introduced into the Black Sea – most likely via ship ballast water.   Without a natural predator, the comb jellies quickly took over their new home and devastated local anchovy fisheries.  Despite the introduction of a natural predator, Beroe jellyfish, that has helped control the invading comb jellies, the Black Sea fisheries have yet to recover.

Fan Photo

Sea Walnut_ jimexpress44
Photo by  jimexpress44

About This Animal

SIZE: Up to 5 inches long

RANGE:  Native to western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, introduced elsewhere

HABITAT: Coastal waters and estuaries

DIET: Small planktonic crustaceans, fish eggs and larvae

Featured Videos