Different Types of Jellyfish in the Ocean

Box Jellyfish

Table of Contents

The Box Jellyfish is a highly advanced species native to the shallow waters of Northern Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. It is considered one of the most poisonous sea creatures. The Box Jellyfish has a pale blue and translucent cubed bell and 15 tentacles with 5,000 stinging cells each. Its sting is extremely painful and lethal, and surviving victims often sustain extensive scarring. The Box Jellyfish can grow up to 10 feet long by 10 feet wide and weigh up to 4.4 pounds. They can move through the water at speeds up to 4.6 miles per hour.

Pink Comb Jelly

The Pink Comb Jelly is found in the lower Chesapeake Bay area during the late summer and fall. These barrel-shaped jellies have combs that produce colorful iridescent bands as they glide in the water. Instead of stinging, their tentacles have colloblasts that produce a sticky substance to catch prey. They are hermaphroditic and can fertilize themselves. The Pink Comb Jelly feeds on sea walnuts, planktonic organisms, and fish larvae.

Cauliflower Jellyfish

The Cauliflower Jellyfish, also known as crown jellyfish or sea jellies, resembles the white vegetable with its crown-like appearance. These bluish-purplish jellyfish are the most venomous to their prey except humans. They prefer the frigidly cold waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and can illuminate themselves to ward off predators. The bells of the Cauliflowers are 7.8 inches tall and 6.7 inches in diameter, with eight arms extending from them.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish is the largest known species. It can grow up to 120 feet long with tentacles that extend 100 feet in length. These jellies have red and yellow tentacles and feed on small fish, other jellies, and tiny crustaceans. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish start tan to orange as babies and turn bright red to dark purple as they mature. They are found in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific oceans.

Portuguese Man-of-War

The Portuguese Man-of-War is not a true jellyfish but a colony of organisms called polyps. It has translucent and purplish-blue tentacles that look like a warship. Its sting is excruciating but not fatal to humans. Portuguese Man-of-War are found in clusters of 1,000 or more in warm waters, from Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. They rely on each other for survival and have different polyps with various functions.

Flower Hat Jellyfish

The Flower Hat Jellyfish has fluorescent and colorful tentacles that resemble party streamers. The bell itself is transparent and has six radial canals ranging from light pink to coral. Their size depends on the season and food availability. Flower Hat Jellyfish primarily live near Japan and along the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They stay close to the seafloor during the day and swim to the surface at night.

Mauve Stingers

Mauve Stingers are small mushroom-shaped jellies that can deliver a powerful sting to humans. They are found in the warm waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean and feed on other small jellyfish, sea squirts, crustaceans, and zooplankton. Mauve Stingers glow brightly at night when disturbed and tend to die in rough waters.

Atolla Jellyfish

The Atolla Jellyfish turns black when it detects danger, making it virtually invisible to predators. It glows a deep red and violet color when not hiding. Atolla Jellyfish live deep in the midnight zones of the ocean and have an extra-long tentacle for catching prey. They can grab any sea animal nearby, including small crustaceans.

Moon Jelly

Moon Jellyfish have a moon-like shape and tentacles with stinging cells. They measure 10-16 inches in diameter and primarily reside in the NE Pacific, Monterey Bay, California, coastline. Moon Jellies are not strong swimmers and can wash ashore after storms or strong tides.

Nettle Sea

Nettle Seas are relatives of sea anemones and coral. They thrive on the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico, the west coast from Alaska to California, and the Bering Sea. These jellies can travel 3600 feet up and down in the water every day. They have yellow or orange bells and long tentacles with stinging cells to paralyze their prey.

Mushroom Cap Jelly

The Mushroom Cap Jelly, or sea mushroom jellyfish, has a flat and soft mushroom-like bell that illuminates in various colors. Its eight oral arms catch small plankton parts using nematocysts. Mushroom Cap Jellyfish are common in the lower Chesapeake Bay, the Northern Gulf of Mexico, and between North Carolina and New England. They are not true jellyfish and use their cilia to move.

Blue Buttons

Blue Buttons are not true jellyfish and float on the water surface in clusters. They have a float and a hydroid colony with tentacle-like branches. Blue Jellies are found in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and come in bright blue, turquoise, or yellow colors.

By-the-Wind Sailor

The By-the-Wind Sailor is not a true jellyfish and consists of a cluster of small animals. It has a bluish-purple-colored disc that floats atop the water with a translucent sail made of chitin. By-the-Wind Sailors drift with the water’s current and can wash up on beaches if not back in the water within a couple of hours.

Cannonball Jelly

Cannonball Jellies are most abundant in the summer and fall along the Southeastern shoreline, estuaries, and saltwater. They cannot swim but drift with the water’s current. Cannonballs release a toxic mucus to ward off predators or harm small fish. Their toxin can cause cardiac problems in humans and animals. They are considered a delicacy in Asia.

Beroe Cucumis

Beroe Cucumis, also known as Melon-Comb Jellies, are medium-sized vase-like sea creatures that live in deep waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and Northwestern European coastal waters. They use shimmering combs with cilia to help them move through the water and feed on other comb jellies and plankton. Beroe Cucumis can grow up to 15 cm long and often travel in clusters.

Crystal Jellyfish

Crystal Jellyfish are transparent and bioluminescent sea organisms that contribute to laboratory and molecular studies. They can live up to two years and give off a green-blue color when they sense a threat. Crystal Jellies have delicate tentacles and are not harmful to humans, but it is best not to touch them.

Pink Meanie Jellyfish

Pink Meanie Jellyfish are extremely rare and different from other true jellyfish. They can grow up to five feet wide and have up to 150 tentacles. Pink Meanies feed on other jellies and can eat up to 34 at a time. Their sting feels more like a mosquito bite and they are found off the coast of Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans.

Bloodybelly Comb Jellyfish

Bloodybelly Comb Jellyfish have a blood-red stomach that conceals bioluminescent prey. They are not true jellyfish and use their cilia to move. Bloodybelly Comb Jellies grow up to six inches long and live at depths of 980-3,320 feet. They feed on copepods and fish larvae.

Narcomedusae Jellyfish

Narcomedusae Jellyfish resemble Darth Vader’s helmet and have tentacles with poison-filled stinging cells. They dwell in the deep Arctic Ocean and feed on plankton, gelatinous creatures, and krill. These unique jellies have four tentacles and 12 stomach pouches.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many species of jellyfish are there?
  2. Are all jellyfish dangerous?
  3. What is the most venomous jellyfish?
  4. Where do jellyfish live?
  5. What do jellyfish eat?
  6. Can jellyfish kill humans?
  7. What are the adaptations of jellyfish?
  8. Are all jellyfish transparent?
  9. How do jellyfish reproduce?
  10. What is the lifespan of a jellyfish?

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