Jellyfish are fascinating animals that have piqued the interest of scientists for hundreds of years. According to new fossil records, jellyfish have lived on Earth for as long as 500 million years.
Today, approximately 2,000 identified species live in every ocean on the planet; however, experts believe many more have not been discovered.
Not only are they an extraordinarily varied collection of organisms, but they can also live for an exceptionally long time, and some are capable of reverting to an earlier stage of life after reaching adulthood when harmed or otherwise endangered.
Jellyfish are well-known for their vibrant colors, lengthy tentacles, and occasionally severe stings. They are available in a variety of hues, including blue, pink, purple, yellow, and orange.
Although they look attractive, many are poisonous and may be fatal. This article looks at a handful of these incredible creatures featuring the top nine largest jellyfish in the world based on maximum bell (head) diameter.
1. Atlantic Sea Nettle
The Atlantic sea nettle has tentacles that can reach 1 foot 7 inches in length and a bell diameter of up to 10 inches. This jellyfish lives in the Atlantic and Indian seas, where other animals like sea turtles, ocean sunfish, and bigger jellyfish hunt them.
The Atlantic sea nettle also has an intriguing symbiotic interaction with blue crabs, in which they offer food and refuge to the blue crab while the blue crab eliminates parasites and residues from their body.
The sting of an Atlantic sea nettle might be mildly painful, although it is not fatal to humans.
2. Black Sea Nettle
The bell of a black sea nettle may be up to 3 feet in diameter, with tentacles up to 25 feet long. This jellyfish is seldom seen in the wild and didn’t gain recognition as a species until 1997.
The black sea nettle has a habit of accompanying Pacific butterfish. In order to evade predators, the Pacific butterfish feeds on the plankton gathered by jellies and hides in its colossal bell. The stings of the black sea nettle is severe but not fatal to humans.
3. Pink Meanie
One of the largest jellyfish is the pink meanie, whose bell diameter is nearly 3 feet. Some unsubstantiated anecdotal stories claim diameters of up to 5 feet.
They have stinging tentacles up to 70 feet long and are capable of entangling and swallowing 34 smaller jellies at the same time.
Because of its scarcity, the pink meanie jellyfish did not gain any recognition as a new species until 2014. The pink meanie has a nasty sting, although it is not poisonous.
4. Australian Box Jellyfish
An Australian box jellyfish’s largest recorded bell size is 19 inches in diameter; on average, its bells are 6-9 inches, with tentacles up to 10 feet long. Because of its deadly barbed tentacles, the Australian box jellyfish earned another name as the “sea wasp.”
It is one of the deadliest creatures on the Earth, with a single sting causing paralysis, heart arrest, and death in less than three minutes.
5. Barrel Jellyfish
The largest jellyfish in the United Kingdom is the barrel jellyfish, which may grow 4 feet and 11 inches in diameter. Barrel jellies are about 16 inches in diameter and 3 feet in length.
They have a wide geographic range, although they are most frequent in the Irish Sea and off Britain’s southern and western shores. The stings of barrel jellies are usually not hazardous to humans.
6. Stygiomedusa Gigantea
The deep-sea jellyfish Stygiomedusa gigantea has a bell diameter of up to 4 feet 7 inches. Instead of tentacles, this jellyfish has four arms that may grow 32 feet long. These limbs effectively grip and capture victims rather than sting them.
Despite only being sighted in the wild 118 times in the last 110 years, Stygiomedusa gigantea is common in the deep ocean and one of the largest Jellyfish predators in that habitat.
7. Nomura’s Jellyfish
Nomura’s jellyfish may reach a maximum bell size of 6 feet 7 inches and reside in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.
They are similar in size to Lion’s mane jellyfish and can weigh up to 440 pounds. In severe situations, the stings can be toxic, and eating a Nomura can be fatal if not properly cooked.
8. Tiburonia granrojo
Tiburonia granrojo, or “great red” jellyfish, is a deep-sea creature with a bell diameter of up to 2 feet 6 inches. This jellyfish thrives off the shores of Japan, Hawaii, Baja California, and western North America at depths of 2000-4800 feet below sea level.
The giant red lacks stinging tentacles but has four to seven strong arms for capturing food. The first observation of a Tiburonia granrojo was in 1993, and much remains unknown about this deep-sea critter.
Most of what we know about giant red jellyfish comes from data and images from a remote-control submarine deep in the ocean.
9. Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
The Lion’s mane jellyfish is the world’s largest jellyfish. The biggest specimen ever known was seen off the coast of Massachusetts in 1865.
This specie was around 7 feet in diameter and had tentacles that were 120 feet long. The size of Lion’s mane jellies varies widely depending on location, with northern populations reaching up to 7 feet in length and lower latitude populations averaging 20 inches in diameter.
They are often found in the Arctic Ocean, the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the English Channel, and the Irish Sea. Lion’s mane stings are seldom lethal, despite their terrifying size.