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Compass Jellyfish

Identify It >   Marine Wildlife >   Compass Jellyfish >

Scientific name:  Chrysaora hysoscella

Size:  Up to 30cm in diameter

Distribution:  Found around most parts of the UK coast

Months seen:  Mostly July to October

Life span:  Up to a year

Habitat:  Usually found out at sea, but they are sometimes washed up on beaches during the summer months, especially on the south and west coasts of England and Wales.

Food:  Small fish, crustaceans and other jellyfish

Special features:  Compass Jellyfish are tinged orange-brown and have 16 dark brown V-shaped lines radiating from the centre which divide the bell into 32 lobes around the edge.  They have four long, frilly mouth arms which extend below their 24 tentacles.  Compass Jellyfish change their sex from male to female as they mature.  They can give a very painful sting.

If you are stung, the best thing to do initially is to rinse the wound in salt water.  Rinse with vinegar (if you have some) as the acid will neutralise the toxin in the sting.  Urinating on a sting is unlikely to help.  Gently scraping the affected area with a credit card or razor will remove any remaining nematocysts (the tiny poisonous sacs released by the jellyfish tentacles).

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