Last updated: December 16, 2019 at 5:07 am
Lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) — The largest individuals have a bell diameter of 2.3 m (7.5 ft) with over 800 tentacles; some reaching lengths of 37 m (120 ft). Despite its large size, the lifespan of the lion’s mane jellyfish is only one year. It inhabits the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans where much smaller specimens are often encountered by divers. Its sting is painful and can cause severe burns. Divers wearing full-body dive suits are well protected but may nonetheless be stung in the face, especially on the lips, when a jellyfish drifts overhead or from leftover and near-invisible tentacles caught on ascent and mooring lines. The lion’s mane jellyfish is one of the main prey items of the world’s largest sea turtle, the leatherback.
Heaslip SG, Iverson SJ, Bowen WD, James MC. 2012. Jellyfish Support High Energy Intake of Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea): Video Evidence from Animal-Borne Cameras. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33259. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033259
Harvey-Clark, Chris. 1997. Eastern Tidepool and Reef: North Atlantic Marine Life. Hancock House.
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.