MarLIN

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

Lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata)

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

Summary

Description

Cyanea capillata is one of the largest species of jellyfish and is commonly referred to as Lions mane jellyfish due to the highly distinguishable mass of long, thin, hair-like tentacles. Cyanea capillata has a saucer-shaped bell (the umbrella) with a uniform thickness until thinning dramatically around the edges. Usually yellowish brown or reddish in colour. It generally grows to 30-50 cm in diameter in British waters. However, they have been know to grow up to 200 cm. The margin of the bell bears hollow tentacles, arranged in eight groups with 70 to 150 or more tentacles in each. The mouth and oral arms stem from a projection on the underside of the umbrella (the manubrium). The oral arms are thick, frilled, folded and generally as long as the diameter of the umbrella.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found around the coasts of the British Isles, most commonly along the east coast of England and Scotland. Also common in the Irish Sea.

Global distribution

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Habitat

Cyanea capillata is pelagic species that can be found washed up on beaches.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • Cyanea capillata has a diameter 30 cm or more.
  • Usually yellow brown or red in colour.
  • It is easily distinguished by a mass of long, hair-like tentacles.
  • There at least 65 tentacles in each of the eight groups of tentacles.

Additional information

Young Cyanea capillata may be found as early as February in British waters, although the main period of abundance for larger individuals is June to September. This species does occasionally occur in large swarms, largely thought to be due to storms and tides that concentrate individuals together (Russell, 1970). They have a very severe sting that can produce blisters, irritation, and muscular cramp and may even affect respiratory and heart function. Cyanea capillata can still sting long after being stranded on the shore.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995a. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Volume 2. Molluscs to Chordates. Oxford Science Publications. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 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.]

  3. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  4. 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.

  5. 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

Datasets

  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hcgqsi accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.uk/home.html accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  4. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  5. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. Fife Nature Records Centre combined dataset. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ccc1ip accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  6. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  7. Lancashire Environment Record Network, 2018. LERN Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/esxc9a accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  8. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2017. Isle of Man wildlife records from 01/01/2000 to 13/02/2017. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/mopwow accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  9. Marine Conservation Society, 2018. UK Jellyfish Sightings from 2003 to 2015. Occurrence dataset: https://www.mcsuk.org/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  10. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  11. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  12. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  13. North East Scotland Biological Records Centre, 2017. NE Scotland other invertebrate records 1800-2010. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/ifjfxz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  14. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2018-10-20

  15. Outer Hebrides Biological Recording, 2018. Invertebrates (except insects), Outer Hebrides. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hpavud accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Heard, J.R. 2005. Cyanea capillata Lion's mane 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 20-10-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2090

Last Updated: 03/05/2005