10 Interesting Facts about the Largest Jellyfish
While there are many different species of Jellyfish and some are quite large, with the largest Jellyfish in the world being the Lion’s Mane. The scientific name for this is Cyanea capillata, which can be found in various waters to include the northern Atlantic, northern Pacific, and boreal waters of the Arctic oceans. Although other Jellyfish similar to the Lion’s Mane are found in New Zealand and Australia, the largest Jellyfish rarely moves south beyond 42-degrees latitude.
Being able to see a Lion’s Mane in the water is simply mesmerizing in that this species is actually beautiful and mysterious but people never want to get near in that it provides a nasty sting. The world’s largest Jellyfish can grow more than seven feet in diameter and the tentacles reach lengths of 120 feet. The first recording of this massive Jellyfish was in 1870 when one washed up on the shore in Massachusetts. Shockingly, the Lion’s Mane is larger than the Blue Whale, which has long been considered the world’s largest animal.
To show you just how special and unique the largest Jellyfish is, we have provided ten additional facts. Without doubt, the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish leaves a lasting impression.
- Pain – All Jellyfish stings are painful due to the toxins found in the tentacles but not fatal. The Lion’s Mane species is no different although the degree of pain is more intensified. In fact, the toxins of the largest Jellyfish actually cause severe burns. The Lion’s Mane is considered more dangerous but to date, only a single person has been died from being stung.
- Size – The world’s largest Jellyfish varies in size with those found at lower latitudes being smaller than the Lion’s Mane found further to the north.
- Tentacles – On average, the tentacles of the Lion’s Mane reach 100 feet long and are extremely sticky. These tentacles are found in groups of eight clusters, each consisting of between 65 and 150 tentacles arranged in rows.
- Bell – The body of Jellyfish is called the “bell.” For the world’s largest Jellyfish, the bell has eight lobes, which makes it look like an eight-point star. Attached to the bell are colorful arms, which come out from the center portion whereas the tentacles connect to the subumbrella portion of the bell.
- Size – The actual size of the largest Jellyfish is what determines color. Typically, the largest Lion’s Mane have a bright red to deep purple coloring while the smaller ones are tan or light orange.
- Water Requirements – All Jellyfish to include the Lion’s Mane are pelagic, which means they prefer to stay in open waters in a special zone that is not near the bottom. However, in the last days or weeks of life, Jellyfish move to shallow waters found in sheltered bays.
- Protection – The largest Jellyfish is appreciated by other sea creatures to include butterfish, harvest fish, prow fish, shrimp, and medusa fish, using this massive floating creature as a place to hide, as well as a reliable food source. The diet of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish includes smaller fish, moon jellies, ctenophores, and zooplankton.
- Visibility – Typically, Jellyfish of all species to include the world’s largest Jellyfish are more commonly seen during the late summer months and into fall. At that time, they are at their largest and because water currents have pushed them closer into to shore, people have more visibility.
- Sexuality – Finally, the largest Jellyfish can sexually reproduce in the medusa state but also asexually reproduce in the polyp stage.