Lion’s mane jellyfish which is also called hair jelly is the biggest known jellyfish. They live in northern Arctic, northern Atlantic and northern Pacific Oceans. The biggest one was found washed up on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in 1870. It has a bell shaped body with a diameter of 2.3m and tentacles 37m long.
They use their stinging tentacles to hunt. The Giant Sea Anemones are able to capture their long tentacles and rip them apart before eating them up. Their tentacles are very sticky and are classified into 8 clusters. In each cluster there are over 100 tentacles which are arranged in a series of rows. So that is why it is also called a hair jelly because of the numerous tentacles which look like hair and also a lion’s mane.
They will be smaller in places which are warmer compared to the colder places. In the warmer places you can find a lion’s mane jellyfish about 50cm in diameter. The largest known species was 37m which was longer than a blue whale which was about 30m in length. So, this jellyfish is actually one of the longest animals in the world.
The bell of this jellyfish is divided into 8 lobes. Their tentacles are colourful. The larger jellyfish are bright deep purplish red to dark purple . As the smaller ones are lighter orange or tan. The jellyfish prefers cold water. In the ocean, lion’s mane jellyfish play a role as floating oases for shrimp, butterfish and harvestfish. They are like a saviour to these sea creatures. They provide source of food and also refuge for them from their predators.
The lion’s mane jellyfish’s predators are seabirds, larger fish, like ocean sunfish, other jellyfish and sea turtles. The leatherback sea turtle love to eat them. The jellyfish use their tentacles to pull in and eat plankton, small fish and moon jellies.
The lion’s mane jellyfish can only drift with the currents. The currents will bring drift them from one place to another place in the ocean. Majority of them live near the surface of the ocean. They don’t live more than 20m deep in the ocean. Their slow pulsation drive them forward. They are more often to be seen during late summer and autumn especially the huge ones which are swept to the shore by the currents.
The female jellyfish carries its eggs in its tentacle. Then these eggs will grow into larva. As the larva grow bigger the mother will lay them on hard surface and these larva will grow into polyps and eventually into beautiful jellyfish.
Jellyfish stings caused temporary pain and redness. In most cases you will not die of the jellyfish stings. Vinegar is a good cure for their stings.