I am happy to share that we have just unveiled a new exhibit at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo – moon jellyfish!
I am even more happy to share that the new exhibit was fully funded by the Friends of the Zoo in partnership with our zoo professionals who designed and installed it.
The Friends invested $20,000 to purchase two 100-gallon hexagonal tanks outfitted to house 25 moon jellies each that the zoo acquired from the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT.
Moon jellies are translucent sea creatures with short, fringy tentacles and we have them lit with blue filters that show off their unique structure. The exhibit represents a new, first-time species for the zoo. It is located near the zoo’s other marine exhibits in the USS Antiquities cave.
After months of work to install the tanks and infrastructure for water filtration and cycling, temperature control and lighting, the jellies arrived about two weeks ago. The windows to the tanks were covered while the animals acclimated.
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Onondaga County Legislature Chair Dave Knapp came to the zoo to help unveil the new exhibit – which became a focal point for many of our younger guests as soon as we pulled the curtain!
Zoo Director Ted Fox said the new exhibit will be a great addition in support of the zoo’s conservation and education missions. “Not only are jellyfish an iconic and popular species, they are indicators of the health of our oceans, so they give us added opportunities to talk about things like climate change and plastics pollution,” he said.
Jellyfish are invertebrates that use a form of jet propulsion to move through the water. They are famous – and feared — for their stinging cells, which they use to stun prey. However, moon jellies eat plankton and are the least dangerous jellyfish to humans.
Our moon jellies are relatives of another invertebrate species, upside-down jellyfish, that can be found in the Garden Eel tank right across the way from the new exhibit.
We hope you enjoy our newest additions to your zoo!
Janet Agostini President + CEO Friends of the Zoo