Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Cyanea capillata
Way back in 1870, a Lion's Mane Jellyfish washed ashore in Massachusetts Bay. Jellyfish wash up all the time, but this one was special... this one has a bell that was 7'6" in diameter and tentacles that were nearly 120 ft long! That means that the Lion's Mane Jellyfish might just be the longest animal alive!

The Lion's Mane Jellyfish doesn't always grow that large. In fact, most of the time their bell is only around a few feet wide, and those that live in the warmer waters max out around a foot and a half. Basically, the colder the water the larger they grow! The species is rarely found at latitudes lower than 42 degrees, and are nonexistent in the Southern Hemisphere.

All Lion's Manes, regardless of size, have tentacles that are clustered into eight segments. There are at least 65 tentacles per segment, though there can be as many as 150, and these tentacles can grow over 100ft long!

If you touch the tentacle of a Lion's Mane Jellyfish, you will probably get stung.. which results in blistering, irritation, and muscle cramps. Stings are not thought to be fatal to humans.

IUCN Status : Not Evaluated
Location : High latitude oceans
Size : Bell Diameter up to 8.2ft (2.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Cnidaria -- Class : Scyphozoa -- Order : Semaeostomeae
Family : Cyaneidae -- Genus : Cyanea -- Species : C. capillata

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