23 February 2015

Ocean Giants: Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

The longest known species of jellyfish is the common lion's mane Cyanea capillata found in the northern waters, from the Arctic to the north Atlantic and Pacific.

Lion's mane jellyfish moving sideways (photograph by Herb Segars from www.arkive.org).

The maximum bell diameter and tentacle length were based on an illustrated catalog of a medusae found off the east coast of the United States by Agassiz (1965) where he wrote,

"I measured myself a specimen at Nahant, the disk of which had attained a diameter of seven and a half feet, the tentacles extending to a length of more than one hundred and twenty feet.

But based on a molecular study conducted by Dawson (2005), the medusae recorded by Agassiz was very much distinct from Cyanea capillata and may thus be an undescribed Cyanea sp. [1, 2] Although no other available literature can provide the maximum length it can attain, the proposed argument by Dawson gives speculations that there may be an unidentified jellyfish waiting to be discovered.

To know more about the lion's mane jellyfish, visit SeaLifeBase.

If you have other information on them, you can e-mail us at sealifebase@fin.ph or come be 

[1] McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm RR, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD. 2015. Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafaunaPeerJ 3:e715.

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