What Eats Box Jellyfish | Box Jellyfish Predators

Box jellyfish are poisonous, but not dangerous, to consume–at least for some marine predators. Sea animals are very intelligent as they start eating the bizarre meal from its head first followed by the delicate tentacles. A leatherback sea turtle is one such animal that often eats box jellyfish very carefully. Box jellyfish are pelagic macroinvertebrates with only few potential predators that may be less poisonous but they are far bigger than the jellies. Prominent among the predators are ocean sunfishes (Molidae), sharks, tunas, green turtles, and molas.

What Eats Box Jellyfish?

Sharks and Fish

Megamouth Shark

The 18-foot-long megamouth shark is recognized by its remarkable jaws. The shark is thought to migrate vertically in that it follows euphasiid shrimps’ movements. It is an epipelagic fish and is known to inhabit deep water. However megamouth likes to consume pelagic species such as copepods and box jellyfish.

Greenland Shark

The Greenland is a large stocky fish with a torpedo-like body. The shark is even bigger than megamouth. They are found in the temperate waters of Atlantic Ocean. Greenland shark will swallow the entire prey especially if the prey is small such as jellyfish.

what eats box jellyfish
A turtle mistakenly eating plastic as jellyfish

Mirrorbelly (Opisthoproctus grimaldii)

Some of the osmeriforms species consume poisonous tentacles of box jellyfish. The mirrorbelly is one such fish that feeds on stinging cells of a box jellyfish.

Barreleye (Macropinna microstoma)

The barreleye is a small fish with the length reaching up to 4.5 cm. It is a deep oceanic fish and prefers to live at a depth of about 330 to 2,950 feet. Barreleye also feeds on the venomous stinging cells of box jellyfish.

Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus)

The lumpfish is a bottom-dwelling fish and it inhabits the waters of Hudson Bay, Iceland, and British Isles to France. The fish is thought to eat small marine invertebrates such as box jellyfish.

Turtles

Turtles are protected by their hard dome-like shells. The delicate yet poisonous tentacles of box jellyfish can’t do much about it. Therefore turtles are thought to be the potential predators of box jellyfish. Besides, they are quite intelligent and they know that certain jellyfish are venomous. Thus turtles begin by eating jellyfish from their heads avoiding tentacles.

  • Loggerhead Turtles Caretta caretta
  • Green Sea turtle
  • Kemp’s ridley turtle
  • Leatherback sea turtles