Moon Jellyfish

Aurelia aurita

I  came across this jellyfish stranded on a beach in Wales. It grows up to 4cm in diameter and is recognised by its four purpley-blue reproductive rings. It has a smooth, saucer-shaped colourless bell.

Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

It feeds on a wide variety of plankton, including fish eggs and small fish.

It is often found washed up on the shore. It swarms in coastal waters, bays and estuaries during April and September. It uses the sun as a compass, forming breeding aggregations in late summer following migration. Britain’s most common and widespread jellyfish.

Photograph taken June 2012, Llandudno, Wales.

Compass jellyfish

Chrysaora hysoscella

A beautifully marked jellyfish which has 16 distinct brown v-shaped marks radiating from the centre of the flattened bell. It has 32 marginal lobes, 24 long, trailing tentacles and 4 mouth arms. The tentacles are covered in clusters of stinging cells called ‘nematocysts’, and can give a very painful sting. Diameter up to 30cm.

It feeds on marine invertebrates like zooplankton and crustaceans. Compass Jellyfish can change their sex from male to female as they mature.

Found inshore waters during the summer. Widespread and locally common.

Photographs taken August 2015, in rock pool, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.