What Do Jellyfish Eat

Discover the mysterious diet of jellyfish and how they use their tentacles to capture prey. Learn about symbiotic relationships and the intriguing feeding habits of these marine creatures.


Jellyfish are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, and can be found in oceans all around the world. One intriguing aspect of jellyfish biology is their diet. Despite their simple appearance, jellyfish have a unique way of obtaining nourishment.


Jellyfish are primarily carnivorous, and their main source of food is plankton. Plankton are tiny organisms that drift in the water, and they come in various forms such as zooplankton and phytoplankton. Jellyfish use their tentacles to capture plankton as they swim by. The tentacles have specialized cells called cnidocytes that release venom to immobilize the prey.

Some jellyfish species also consume small fish and shrimp. These larger prey are captured with the help of the jellyfish’s tentacles and then moved to the jellyfish’s mouth for digestion.

Symbiotic Relationships:

Some jellyfish have symbiotic relationships with certain species of fish. For example, the clownfish is known to seek protection within the tentacles of jellyfish such as the Cassiopea jellyfish. In return, the clownfish provides the jellyfish with nutrients from its waste products.

Case Study: Box Jellyfish:

The box jellyfish is one of the most venomous creatures in the ocean. Despite its deadly sting, the box jellyfish has a peculiar diet. It preys on small fish and shrimp, which it immobilizes with its potent venom. The box jellyfish uses its tentacles to transport the prey to its mouth for consumption.


Jellyfish have a fascinating diet that revolves around plankton as their primary food source. They use their tentacles and venom to capture and immobilize prey, and some species even form symbiotic relationships with other marine creatures. Understanding what jellyfish eat helps us appreciate the complexity of these enigmatic creatures.

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