Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
Jellyfish is the common name for many species
of what scientists refer to as cnidarians (pronounced with a
silent ‘c’). The root of cnidaria is ‘nettle’ in Greek that
refers to the stinging tentacles of some species. The two
types of cnidarians are the Hydrozoa and the
Scyphozoa. The largest scyphozoan in the North Pacific is
the lion’s mane jelly. Large specimens can exceed 2 m in
diameter with 9 m long tentacles. It is often abundant in
coastal waters in late summer. The tentacles can give a nasty
sting so it is best to leave this animal alone. Meat
tenderizer is supposedly a good antidote of stings. Stranded
jellies look like blobs of gelatinous mass on the beach but in
the water they are graceful creatures. The lion’s mane jelly
is a pelagic species found in the Pacific Ocean from Mexico to
Alaska. It eats plankton caught in the mesh of trailing
tentacles that are drawn up to the mouth under the bell.
Jellyfish are eaten by
photo by Lenore
Caldwell, July 2008
West Porpoise Bay,
Sunshine Coast, BC
from the Coast Reporter Newspaper for Friday August 8,
PORPOISE BAY: Sierra Therrien from Chilliwack, visiting with
her grandmother on Sunday, July 20th, saw many large
jellyfish in West Porpoise Bay near the government dock.
This is by far the largest, measuring about 1.3 metres (four
feet) across. According to local biologist and photographer
Duane Sept (www.septphoto.com)
this is the Lion's Mane Jelly (Cyanea capillata), the
largest species of jellyfish in the world. The bell (the
central area) normally grows to 50 cm (20 inches) in
diameter but can grow up to two metres (6.6 feet) across.
This bell is surrounded by hundreds of slender stinging
tentacles that can trail up to nine metres (30 feet) long.
This species should not be touched when it is alive or dead,
since the tentacles can produce a sting. If you do get
stung, try meat tenderizer on the affected area.