The lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) is one of the largest jellyfish in the world. It gains its common name from the characteristic mass of long, thin, hair-like tentacles found hanging from the underside of the bell-shaped body (2). The tentacles are hollow and are arranged in 8 groups of between 70 and 150 (2) (5). The mouth of the lion’s mane jellyfish is also located on the underside of the bell, in the middle of the tentacles, and is surrounded by four thick, frilled, folded ‘oral arms’, which are shorter than the tentacles (2) (3) (5) and are dark red or red-brown (3) (6).
The smooth, saucer-shaped bell of the lion’s mane jellyfish is relatively flat and can vary in colouration between yellow, brown and red (2) (3) (5). The edges of the bell are thinner than the thick centre (6) and are pale yellow (3).
The lion’s mane jellyfish is often bioluminescent, meaning it produces its own light, making it glow in dark waters (4).
The juvenile lion’s mane jellyfish has pale pink, yellow or colourless oral arms, which become dark red as the individual ages (3) (6).
- Bell diameter: up to 2 m (2)
- Tentacle length: up to 60 m (3)
- Maximum weight: over 1 tonne (4)