Australian Spotted Jellyfish - Phyllorhiza punctata - A beautiful but annoying invader

Phyllorhiza punctata (Rhizostomae - Mastigiidae) is a large jellyfish with a rounded and somewhat flattened gelatinous bell that is clear or possibly tinted brown with many small white crystalline refractive spots close to the surface. 

P. punctata is a coastal and estuarine jellyfish whose wide native distribution includes Australia and much of the Indo-Pacific including the Philippine archipelago. 

This species was recorded only from Indo-Pacific waters prior to the 1950s.  Since 1995 there are several reports of populations of the Australian Spotted Jellyfish in the Atlantic (Brazil), Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the East Pacific (California), where the species is considered introduced, invasive and nuisance, impacting fisheries, injuring swimmers, and clogging the intakes of power plants, among other effects. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Ray Froend | Locality: Swan River, Western Australia (2007)

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Australian Spotted Jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata)

Also known as the Floating Bell or the White-spotted Jellyfish, the Australian Spotted Jellyfish is a species of Mastigiid jellyfish that occurs in the West Pacific from Australia to Japan. However, it has been introduced elsewhere. Like other jellyfish P. punctata is a predator and feeds mainly on zooplankton. 


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Images: Nick Hobgood and Orest

Flame Jellyfish (Rhopilema esculentum)

…a species of Rhizostomatid jellyfish which is native to the warm temperate waters of the Pacific. Including western Japan, the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the North Malayan Sea. Like other Rhizostoman jellyfish as a medusa R. esculentum lacks tentacles at its bell’s margin, instead it possesses eight highly branched oral arms. These are used to assist in prey capture. R. esculentum is popular in Asia for a multitude of reasons, in some contires it is a popular food item and in others it is said to have medicinal value. 


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Image: OpenCage

Jellyfish - Thysanostoma thysanura

Described by Haeckel in 1880, Thysanostoma thysanura (Rhizostomeae - Thysanostomatidae) is a beautiful pelagic jellyfish which can reach up to 12 cm. It is known that this jellyfish, found from the central Indo-Pacific to Japan, has associations with the copepod Paramacrochiron japonicum, and the fish Carangoides ferdau.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: ©Hans Spicar | Locality: Koh Tao, Thailand (2004)

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Purple Jellyfish - Thysanostoma loriferum

Thysanostoma loriferum (Rhizostomeae - Thysanostomatidae) is an oceanic species of scyphomedusa recorded from Philippines, the Malay archipelago, Hawaii, and the Red Sea, which is rarely seen inshore.

These animals have large narrow lash-like frilled mouth arms. The upper parts of the mouth-arms are very short and partially fused to the arm disk by a series of arches reaching from one to the next. The bells can be from 90 to 120 mm wide and the eight mouth arms are from one and a half to three times as long as the bell is wide. The lower arms are three winged and Y or T shaped in cross section through its length.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Philippe Bourjon (CC BY-SA 3.0) | Locality: Réunion Island (2014)

Blue Blubber Jellyfish  (Jelly Blubber)

Catostylus mosaicus (Catostylidae), better known as Blue Blubber Jelly, is a species of jellyfish found in coastal waters of eastern and northern Australia.

Blue blubber jellyfish do not have the long trailing tentacles most commonly associated with jellyfish. Instead they have eight oral arms extruding from just beneath their bell forming a circular pattern.

Curious fact: in Asia, this venomous jelly is considered a culinary delicacy (once it’s been correctly dried and processed). A clear example of an organism that being venomous, is not necessarily poisonous.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©valguille

Locality: Portsea, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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“Dustbin-lid Jellyfish” (Rhizostoma pulmo)

Also known as the barrel or frilly-mouthed jellyfish, the dustbin-lid jellyfish is a species of Rhizostomatid jellyfish which occurs in the northeast Atlantic, and in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. It is also recorded in the southern Atlantic off the western South African coast. Rhizostoma pulmo can typically reach bell diameters of 40 cm (16 in), but 90 cm (35 in) individuals have been recorded as well. 


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Image: Yoruno


Upside-down Sea Jelly | ©Blogie  (Talikud Island, Davao del Norte, Philippines)

Cassiopeia andromeda, the Upside-down jellyfish, is often mistaken for a sea anemone, because it frequently lies on the seabed with the oral part and tentacles up, hence their name (bottom photo).

This species is native to the Indo-Pacific, however, is also present in Hawaii where it is considered an introduced and invasive species, probably introduced unintentionally through their juvenile benthic stage attached to hull fouling, or pelagic stage transported in ballast water of ships [source].

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Root Mouthed Jellyfish (Eupilema inexpectata)

…a species of Rhizostomatid jellyfish that is the only member of the genus Eupilema. Root mouthed jellyfish occur along the entirety of the South African coast, and inhabit waters from the surface to around 35m (114 ft) underwater. Like most other jellyfish Eupilema inexpectata is a predator and will feed on a myriad of microscopic prey.


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Image: Peter Southwood