By: Blonde Two

As previously recorded, I am not a jellyfish fan but I do (when I am out of the water) have some distant admiration for the beauty and otherworldliness of these floating actually-not-fish creatures. During the summer I have a morbid fear of bumping into them while I am swimming and stick to identification via other people’s photos (which make me feel I should be more brave). This week’s Tuesday’s Ten is for outdoor swimmers and those considering a dip in the sea. Ten different types of jellyfish (and almost no pictures because I am too scared to take them)!

  1. Compass jellyfish – beautiful compass-like markings, UK waters, up to 30cm, sting similar to a nettle sting, for many reasons, I don’t recommend these as a navigation tool.
  2. Moon jellyfish – gentle mini-moons with four circles on their tops (gonads), no sting for humans, up to 40cm, even I can cope with delicate tentacles like these.
  3. Blue jellyfish – stunning bright blue (unless young), up to 30cm, sting similar to a nettle sting, mesmerising but only from a boat.
  4. Mauve stingers – purple spots, not common in the UK, up to 10cm, tentacles of up to 3 metres,  painful and sometimes long-lasting sting, aka purple stingers but I don’t recommend you get close enough to be pedantic about colour definitions.
  5. Lion’s mane jellyfish – a giant for UK waters this one at up to 50cm, a mane of tentacles, some up to 3 metres long and a sting that can be nasty enough to require a visit to the doctor, I have never seen one of these and don’t particularly want to. Oh and the tentacles can deliver their sting even when detached.
  6. Portuguese Man O’ War – okay so I am cheating here, the PMOW isn’t a jellyfish but rather four separate polyps, pneumatophore (floating bit), tentacles (up to 20m, very painful but not deadly sting), eating parts (stay away from those) and gonads (I am not going to discuss those here).
  7. Barrel Jellyfish – big and solid, arms instead of tentacles, I would be more worried about bumping into this one than being stung by it, perhaps the gentle giant of the jellyfish family.
  8. Box jellyfish – some of the most toxic venom in the world, luckily not found in UK waters, especially as it is small and hard to spot in the water.
  9. By-the-Wind-Sailor – just like the Portuguese Man O’ War, this one is a collection of polyps and has a ‘sail’ that sticks up from its disc body that carries it along (and hopefully keeps it offshore). If these do drift onto the beach, they do not have stings that can harm humans.
  10. Jellyfish salad – okay so not something you will find in the sea but I wanted to mention that I once ate jellyfish salad at a Chinese restaurant in New Zealand. It was more crunchy than you would imagine and tasted nice but I am not sure I would order it again.