Lion’s Mane Jellyfish Is The Biggest Jellyfish In The World

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Did you know that the biggest jellyfish ever found was with a diameter of 2.3 metres (7 ft 6 in) and tentacles 37.0 m (121.4 ft) long? Can you imagine that?! That’s longer than a blue whale! That particular specimen was washed up on the shore of Massachusetts Bay in 1870 and it belonged to the lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), the largest known species of jellyfish.

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The largest jellyfish in the sea is also known as giant jellyfish or the hair jelly. They can be of various colours, from purple to orange and they glow in the dark. Some awesome sea creature, indeed! (The picture below is a fake, looks cool though)

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They use their tentacles for hunting by spreading them out in a web and allowing animals they pass to be caught. If you thought the ocean was scary before, now you’re terryfied right? When caught, the prey is being stung with sharp barbs on the tentacles that inject poison. You don’t want to meet these guys in person! Some fishes are immune to their poison so they enter a mass of tentacles to feed off the scraps they can find.

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Besides its unusual size, looks and the way it hunts, lion’s mane jellyfish has a very interesting life cycle consisting of several stages.  The “polyp” stage is first one, and during that period the giant jellyfish is attached to the sea floor. They reproduce asexually during this stage. In the “medusa” stage they’re no longer attached to the ocean floor and can swim freely and reproduce sexually by releasing sperm and eggs.

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Complicated life cycle but a very short one, unfortunately. They live only for about a year. It’s kind of a paradox having in mind that some of their smaller cousins can wonder seas endlessly.

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