Kaleidoscope jellyfish (Haliclystus auricula)

NBN Interactive03-09-2007

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byKen Neal Refereed byAdmin
Authority(Rathke, 1806)
Other common names- Synonyms-



Haliclystus auricula is a funnel-shaped jellyfish up to 2-2.5 cm high with eight arms radiating from the mouth, connected near the tips by a thin membrane. It is fixed to the substratum by a stalk that is the same length as the bell. Colour varies from grey/green to red/brown. The arms are tipped by clusters of up to 100 short tentacles. The main distinguishing feature of Haliclystus auricula is the presence of kidney-shaped primary tentacles on the membrane margin, between the arms.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from the Shetland Isles, Orkney, the west coasts of England, Ireland and Scotland, with isolated records from Northumberland.

Global distribution



Found on algae and seagrasses in the low intertidal and shallow sublittoral.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • The body resembles a funnel up to 2-2.5 cm in height with the stalk making up half the body length.
  • Eight equally spaced arms radiating from the mouth.
  • Eight regularly spaced clumps of tentacles at the tips of the arms around the rim of the funnel.
  • Between the tentacle clumps are kidney-shaped primary tentacles known as 'anchors'.

Additional information


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Further information sources

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  1. Crothers, J.H. (ed.), 1966. Dale Fort Marine Fauna. London: Field Studies Council.

  2. Foster-Smith, J. (ed.), 2000. The marine fauna and flora of the Cullercoats District. Marine species records for the North East Coast of England. Sunderland: Penshaw Press, for the Dove Marine Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

  3. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  4. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  5. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1990. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  6. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  7. NBN (National Biodiversity Network), 2002. National Biodiversity Network gateway. http://www.searchnbn.net, 2008-10-31

  8. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/


This review can be cited as:

Neal, K.J. 2007. Haliclystus auricula Kaleidoscope jellyfish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2051

Last Updated: 03/09/2007