Alerts

Please note February 3rd to February 4th 2023, Zoomobile may be experiencing closures and delays due to weather and unforeseen circumstances.
Please note that due to the cold temperatures expected, the Conservation Carousel will be closed on Saturday, February 4.

Please also note our Zoomobile will now be taking an alternate route through the Eurasia Wilds and will no longer be travelling through the Eurasia Drive Thru.


Please note the following animals that may not be viewable at this time:

Americas Pavilion
Two-toed sloth, golden lion tamarin, white-faced saki, river otter, Eastern loggerhead shrike, and black-footed ferret are all currently not viewable due to habitat maintenance.

Eurasia Wilds
The Stellar Sea Eagles are currently not viewable.

Canadian Domain: 
Closed for the season.

African Savanna:
Some animals may not be viewable due to decreasing temperatures.

Kids Zoo
Closed for the season.


Saturday, February 25 - Move Your Paws for the Polar Bear Cause 5K/1K Run/Walk

Please be advised that your Toronto Zoo and Canada Running Series will be hosting the Move Your Paws for the Polar Bear Cause 5K/1K Run/Walk at the Zoo on February 25th to raise funds for the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy and polar bear conservation. 

Please note the following operational impacts:

  • For their well-being, some animals along the Move Your Paws route may be delayed going out on habitat in the morning. Guests may experience slight delays on other pathways as the run finishes and the race route is cleared. 
    • Tundra Trek: Caribou will not be visible and the path to the Caribou habitat will be closed for the entire day
  • Zoomobile: Begins operating at 11:45 am
Moon Jelly
Moon Jelly
Jellyfish

Location at the Zoo:
Australasia
Region: Australasia


Moon jellyfish

Jellyfish are ancient creatures. Fossils have been found in rocks that are 650 million years old. Today there are more than 2000 species. Jellyfish are 95% water, 3% protein, and 1% mineral. There are four life stages from birth to adult. There is no backbone, brain, or heart. Adults drift with the currents, but can swim horizontally by pulsations of the bell to keep close to the surface. A primitive nerve net controls muscle contractions as it swims. The adult form is a transparent bell shape that ranges between 5 and 40 cm wide. Underneath is a central mouth surrounded by four oral arms that carry the stinging tentacles. From above, four crescent shaped gonads surround the mouth. On the rim of the bell are eight sets of eye spots sensitive to light and eight statocysts that help orient jellyfish when swimming. Jellyfish are primitive organisms with an outer layer (ectoderm) that covers the external surface and an inner layer (endoderm) that lines the gut. Between these is a jelly layer or mesoglea. The simple digestive cavity acts as a gullet, stomach, and intestine. There is one opening between the oral arms that acts as a mouth, anus, and entrance for sperm (in females).

Conservation Status: IUCN




Distribution:

Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans.

Habitat:

Shallow coastal waters as well as brackish waters with a salt content as low as 0.6 %. Jellyfish can survive in water from 6 ˚C to 31 ˚C. The optimum temperature is 9 ˚C to 19 ˚C.

Diet:

Jellyfish are carnivorous plankton eaters. They feed on fish eggs and larval fish and other plankton, such as mollusks, crustaceans, and copepods etc. Food is collected on the mucus surface of the jellyfish and by the tentacles. Flagellar action of the tentacles passes the food items to the margin of the bell and then up into the mouth and stomach.

Reproduction:

Jellyfish are either male or female. Sexual reproduction begins when a male medusa releases sperm through its mouth. The sperm swim into the mouth of a nearby female where fertilization occurs. Further development into free swimming planula (larval stage) occurs in brood pouches along the oral arms. The planula settle on the ocean floor and attach to the bottom forming the polyp. Polyps bud asexually to produce free swimming larvae known as ephyra, which grow into the adult medusa.

Adaptation:

The transparent body makes a jellyfish less visible to predators. Oral arms have tentacles that carry nematocysts (stinging cells) that stun prey or deter predators. About 70 species are harmful to humans. The medusa can shrink in size when food is scarce and grow when it is abundant. Radial symmetry permits finding food in any direction.

Threats to Survival:

Predators include sea turtles, ocean sunfish, spade fish, tuna, swordfish, and other large fish. Humans, particularly in some Asian countries, capture and eat dried non-venomous jellyfish.