Vienna Zoo now successfully bred the giant jellyfish Rhizostoma luteum for the first time in captivity.
The baby jellyfish are about 4 centimeter tall and are now on exhibit in the Aquarium. "The giant jellyfish was first discovered in the Western Mediterranean Sea in 1827. It is such a rare species that some scientists even doubted its existence. During the last couple of years some specimens stranded on the beaches of Morocco and Spain and it could finally be proven that Rhizostoma luteum does indeed exist." says Dagmar Schratter, director of Vienna Zoo.
The story behind this breeding success is as spectacular as the jellyfish itself. Schratter: "The marine researcher Karen Kienberger from Jellyfish Research South Spain collected an adult giant jellyfish in the coastal waters of South Spain for her scientific research. At the laboratory, she discovered that the jellyfish was sexually mature and collected planula larvae which she sent to Vienna Zoo." Almost nothing is known about this jellyfish. It was a real challenge even for the jellyfish experts at Vienna Zoo to successfully breed this species. But they were successful and raised 30 baby jellyfish from the planula to the polyp and finally to the jellyfish.
The zoo successfully took photos of all developmental stages and collected important data which will be forwarded to Kienberger for further collaborative research.