information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Dustbin-lid jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.



Rhizostoma pulmo has a solid appearance. It varies in colour from whitish pale or yellow to shades of green, blue, pink or brown. The umbrella margin is divided into a number of semi-circular lobe like extensions (marginal velar lappets). Beneath the bell is a large manubrium, consisting of a short pillar-like basal stem, followed by sixteen, three winged epaulets with frilled mouth openings. It then divides into four pairs of oral arms that consist of three winged portions, followed by three winged elongated terminal appendages (Russell, 1970). Mature males have blue gonads whereas, ripe females are reddish brown. When exposed to air their nematocyst warts give the umbrella surface a matt like appearance. The large crustacean Hyperia galba can be found throughout the body of the jellyfish and more commonly in its gastric or gonad pouches.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland


Global distribution




Depth range


Identifying features

  • Thick dome shaped bell, that becomes thinner around its margin.
  • The bell grows up to 90 cm in diameter.
  • It has no marginal tentacles.
  • It has four pairs of very large oral arms on its undersurface.

Additional information

This species was previously been known as Rhizostoma octopus which was regarded by some authors as a variety of Rhizostoma pulmo rather than a distinct species (Russell, 1970). Russell (1970) stated that the only valid character by which they could be distinguished was by examining the number of velar lappets on the umbrella margin. However, Rhizostoma pulmo is now the accepted name.

It is sporadic in occurrence from year to year but occurs in 'swarms' in summer and autumn. It is believed that some specimens probably live in deep water during winter.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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

  3. O'Connor, B. & McGrath, D., 1978. The occurrence of the scyphozoan Rhizostoma octopus (L.) around the Irish coast in 1976. Irish Naturalists' Journal, 19, 261-263.

  4. Russell, F.S., 1970. The medusae of the British Isles. Vol II - Pelagic Scyphozoa, with a supplement to the first volume on hydromedusae. Cambridge University Press


  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  3. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  4. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Invertebrate Records 1853- 2011. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  5. Lancashire Environment Record Network, 2018. LERN Records. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  6. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2017. Isle of Man wildlife records from 01/01/2000 to 13/02/2017. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  7. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1995 to 1999. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  8. Marine Conservation Society, 2018. UK Jellyfish Sightings from 2003 to 2015. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  9. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  10. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank Active Naturalists (unverified). Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  11. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  12. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  13. OBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System),  2019. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2019-03-24

  14. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Marine and other Aquatic Invertebrates (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-02.


This review can be cited as:

Sabatini, M. 2004. Rhizostoma pulmo Dustbin-lid 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. [cited 24-03-2019]. Available from:

Last Updated: 18/03/2004