Join us in celebrating World Jellyfish day by diving in with curiosity and reading about some of the unique and beautiful jellyfish species found throughout the world.
Every 3rd November the world celebrates World Jellyfish Day! In order to celebrate our favorite coelenterates, we’ve put together this list of 10 different kinds of jellyfish and an awesome infographic dedicated to these amazing yet freaky creatures!
We will also give you some awesome jellyfish facts such as what is a group of jellyfish called, and do all jellyfish sting, and how painful is it? Where you will find them, from the Mediterranean to the Antarctic, and although they have been around for millions of years they do not live for years, in fact, most don’t even live more than months.
10 Different Types of Jellyfish
Many people think of jellyfish as some of the smallest animals found in the ocean, but they really do come in all different sizes. Currently, around 2000 jellyfish types have been documented, but scientists estimate that there could still be over 300,000 species yet to be discovered. That’s a lot of jellies…
Here we have put together, in no particular order, ten alien yet beautiful looking marine animals that will raise your eyebrows and make you think twice about what’s really out there in the big blue. If you love jellyfish so much then you have to check out these jellyfish gift ideas!
1. Crystal Jellyfish
Coming in at number one is the Crystal jellyfish. Located in the waters around North America’s coast, this jellyfish species is actually completely colorless, hence its name! This beautiful specimen has around 150 tentacles lining its glass-like bell and in the daylight looks crystal clear. Although, this transparency belies a brighter side.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium says that “Crystal jellies are brightly luminescent jellies, with glowing points around the margin of the umbrella.
The components required for bioluminescence include a Calcium++ activated photoprotein, called aequorin that emits a blue-green light, and an accessory green fluorescent protein (GFP), which accepts energy from aequorin and re-emits it as a green light.
Scientists have created ‘green mice’ that glow green when hit by blue light by inserting the GFP gene from the crystal jelly into the mice. The glowing protein is a widely used biological highlighter that helps scientists find and study genes more quickly.”
2. Bloodybelly Comb Jellyfish
Ranking high in the charts for the coolest and beautiful jelly-fish, is our next contender, the Bloodybelly Comb jellies, which, technically speaking are comb jellies and are only very distantly related to the jellyfish. This one doesn’t have the famous jellyfish stinging tentacles that others possess, and it is actually a harmless Comb jelly to humans.
However, what they lack in tentacles they certainly make up for in their cilia, cilia are tiny hair-like projections that beat back and forth to help propel it through the water. This movement of the cilia creates a beautiful sparkling light show showing an array of colors.
Despite a reputation of potentially being a “showoff”, the red color that the Bloodybelly Comb jellies turn actually makes it nearly invisible when in deep water, which is where they are normally found.
Red looks very much like black in the depths of the ocean and specifically, the red belly of this Bloodybelly comb also helps to mask the bioluminescence glow of its prey and keeps it extra safe from the attention of its predators.
3. Cauliflower Jellyfish
Getting its name from the wart-like projections this type has on its bell resembling that of a vegetable, we give you the Cauliflower jellyfish also referred to as the Crown jellyfish! While this jelly may not sound the prettiest of its species, it is still a truly beautiful species of jellyfish.
Most commonly found within the waters of the mid-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific and sometimes also around the Atlantic Ocean off of the West African coast. The Cauliflower jelly grows relatively large in size reaching up to 1.5 to 1.9 feet in diameter.
Although it is one of the most venomous of the jellyfish species they are actually harmless to humans. What do jellyfish eat? just plankton, algae, shrimp, and invertebrate eggs. Although they have 30 filaments with stinging cells sticking out from their bell, they are harmless to humans, so no painful stings from these little marine animals.
Very much like its vegetable nickname, this kind is often also found on dinner plates! Mostly in China and Japan where the species is considered to be a delicacy and is also known to be used for medicinal purposes within these locations.
4. White-spotted Jellyfish
At number four on, we have the White-spotted jellyfish. These jellies have very mild venom and therefore any jellyfish stings from its stinging cells are harmless to us humans. In fact, the white-spotted jelly doesn’t generally even use their venom to catch food at all!
What do the jellyfish eat? Well, these are what’s known as a filter feeder, similar to oysters and sponges. They can filter over 50 cubic meters of ocean water every single day! The only downside of this type of jellyfish is that a swarm (or bloom) of these jellies can clear an area of zooplankton! Greedy little things!
Causing a shortage for the fish and crustaceans that also munch on the microscopic marine life. In such areas where the white-spotted jelly is considered to be an invasive species, such as the Gulf of California, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, their hungry appetite poses somewhat of a problem for the native species from shrimps to corals.
5. Black Sea Nettle Jellyfish
Next, one of the largest jellyfish (the largest jellyfish is the Lion Mane jellyfish) is the Black Sea Nettles jellyfish! This particular species can be found in the deep sea Pacific waters around Southern California.
The bell of the Black Sea Nettles can reach up to three-foot across, its long tentacles reach up to 20 feet in length, and its stinging tentacles 25 feet long. Without saying, it would be pretty damn scary if you caught yourself in the middle of a bloom of these giants while in the water, but don’t worry too much as they are not that common to a lot of ocean waters.
Although it is called a Black Sea Nettle, the bell is only black on the mature jellies, with the bell of immature and small mature jellies being a reddish to maroon color, while the tentacles are whitish-pink and oral arms a reddish-pink in both the large and small black sea nettle.
Considering their size, which is large, this is one of the jellyfish species that are relatively new to science and we don’t actually know that much about them. It has been said that this is partly due to them being very difficult to raise in captivity and they aren’t very often discovered in the wild.
There has, however, previous encounters where the largest blooms of Black Sea Nettles have surfaced in 1989, 1999, and in 2010. But other than these occurrences, what the largest of the jellies tend to get up to it a little bit of a mystery.
6. Fried Egg Jellyfish
At sixth on our celebratory list, is the Fried Egg Jelly. Now, I wonder why they call this the Fried Egg, any ideas. Another of the jellies that have venom but does not usually affect humans, in fact, its sting is so mild that the tentacles are sometimes used to by small fish to provide shelter in the open ocean water.
This is the Cotylorhiza tuberculata, better known as the Fried Egg jellyfish or even the Mediterranean jelly. This particular species actually only survive for around 6 months, from the summer months until the winter, dying when the weather and water start to cool down.
If you spot them while diving, take a close look and you will be able to find the tiny fish that hide inside the tentacles for their own protection, sometimes, a smaller crab species will also take a chance and hitch a ride on the bell too!
This egg colored jellyfish can be found lazing in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea.
7. Flower Hat Jellyfish
No this isn’t a species that wears a floral hat! Sorry to disappoint you! But you can see where the Flower Hat jellyfish gets its common name from. Seventh, on our list, these sea jellies are endemic to the Western Pacific, commonly found off the Southern Japan coast and also within the waters of Brazil and Argentina.
They tend to mostly hang about near the ocean floor among the seagrass rather than pulsing their way through the open ocean. For these stinging jellyfish, the seagrass is better for them in order to catch the small fish which they prey on.
Although alien-like, this is a beautiful jellyfish, but don’t be fooled by the extraordinary colors of it bell that it possesses, you will know about it if it stings you as it is painful! According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium “Blooms of the flower hat jellies make swimming in coastal waters off Argentina hazardous”.
The sting of this jelly is painful, leaving a bright burn like a rash. In Brazil, swarms of the Flower Hat sea jellies interfere with shrimp fishing, as they clog their nets and drive shrimp away, probably to deeper water.
8. Atolla Jellyfish
Coming in at number eight on our list it the Atolla jellyfish. Also known as the Coronate Medusa jelly, this can be found all around the world. Like, most deep sea-dwelling creatures the Atolla has super awesome bioluminescent abilities.
Most deep-sea ocean dwellers use their bioluminescence to attract prey, but this type actually uses it to keep it from becoming prey! Once attacked, the Atolla creates a series of flashes, similar to that of an emergency siren. It’s the flashes that this species produces that draws in more predators.
The idea is that the predators will be more interested in the original attacker, rather than the Atolla, allowing the jelly a chance to make a getaway!It is this strategy that has given the Atolla the nickname “alarm jellyfish” deep-sea species.
9. Narcomedusae Jellyfish
Known to have a Darth Vader kind of appearance, we give you our next jelly, the Narcomedusae. Out of the different species of jellyfish, this rather unusual type has strangely, not one, but two stomach pouches. To be able to fill both pouches with prey, the Narcomedusae holds its long tentacles out in front of it when swimming.
Researchers believe that this is to make them a more effective ambush predator. According to the unexpected world of biology, the people at Creature Cast have said that “Some species of Narcomedusae (affectionately called narcos by the people that study them) can grow inside their own mother, rather than laying the usual jellyfish eggs, and this provides nourishment and a safe environment for her young.
The narco babies can then leave their mother, find another jelly of an entirely different species, attach to its flesh, and thrive on the nourishment and safe environment it provides.”
10. Pink Meanie Jellyfish
Last but not least on our celebratory list of all types of jellyfish is another of the largest jellyfish and is the Pink Meanie jellyfish! Having only been first observed in large groups in the year 2000 off of the Gulf of Mexico, it is a mystery as to how one of these pink jellyfish of this large size hadn’t been discovered sooner.
So the pink meanie and its Mediterranean cousin represent a new family of jellyfish altogether, the first new family of jellies species identified since 1921.
The Pink Meanie has a taste for other jellies and actually preys on them! Using its very long, up to a 70 feet reach, tentacles to entangle them, they then reel in their victims and consume them. These creatures have been known to eat as many as 34 at a time! It sounds like something out of a horror movie, doesn’t it!!
We know that this species inhabits the US Atlantic, the Coastal Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico, but also perhaps other parts of the world too. The Pink Meanie is also known to be named Drymonema Larsoni after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife scientist Ronald Larson, the man that pioneered work on this species back in the early ’80s. Read more about it here.
Psstttt… Do you know someone that would love a Jellyfish themed gift? Or just want to show off your love for these weird and beautiful jellyfish, sea animals? You can do so with one of these awesome themed products;
World Jellyfish Day Infographic
Frequently Asked Questions about Jellyfish Species
We hope you have enjoyed looking through our top 10 jellies. Below we have answered some of the questions about jellyfish that we are asked the most.
How many types of jellyfish are there?
There are more than 2,000 types of jellyfish that are known about, but scientists think that there literally thousands more that have yet to be discovered in the deep ocean water. Only about 70 of the known jellies are actually harmful to humans.
What is the most common jellyfish?
The most common and widely recognized jellyfish is probably the Moon Jellyfish also known as the Common jellyfish and although it does have venom it is harmless to humans. The most a Moon jellyfish sting will do is give a very mild stinging sensation, but that is rare.
What other interesting species of jellyfish exist?
There are so many interesting species of jellyfish that exist, the biggest is the Lion Mane jellyfish that you may find along the coast in the summer season. The Lion Mane jellyfish is also a dangerous species that you should avoid at all costs when in the coastal water. They can grow up to 2 meters wide with tentacles that are divided into eight clusters and have 150 long sting covered tentacles.
The most venomous is the Australian Box jelly that can actually kill a human if they get caught in the poisonous tentacles. Then we have the most common jellyfish, the Moon jelly also known as the Aurelia Aurita, Saucer Jelly, or Common Jelly.
What is the most deadly jellyfish?
By far the most deadly jellyfish is the Box jellyfish, specifically the Australian Box jellyfish. They are armed with tiny arrows that are full of poison and anyone or thing that gets injected with this poison may well experience paralysis, cardiac arrest, and even death, all within a few minutes of being stung.
Although the lethal varieties of the Box jelly are found mainly in the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australia. This includes the Australian Box jellyfish that are considered the most venomous of all marine animals.