Scientific name: Rhizostoma pulmo
Giants of the jellyfish world, these incredible creatures are the UK’s largest jellyfish! They can grow to the size of dustbin lids – giving them their other common name: dustbin-lid jellyfish.
StatisticsBell: Up to 90cm across Weight: Up to 35kg
When to seeMay to October
AboutThese large jellyfish swarm in warmer coastal waters in late spring and often wash up on our beaches in May or June, sometimes in their hundreds. Their favourite meal is plankton, which can be found in shallow waters. This is what often causes them to wash up, as they underestimate their size. They have eight frilly arms, which contain their small stinging tentacles and surround hundreds of little mouths! The sting of the barrel jellyfish is not normally harmful to humans, though if you find one on the beach it's best not to handle it as they can still sting when dead.
How to identifyA large translucent jellyfish with a huge mushroom shaped bell and a bunch of 8 frilly tentacles below. They don't have marginal tentacles, but do have a violet fringe around the bell which contains sense organs. They are often found washed up on beaches in May and June.
DistributionCommon off Southern and Western coasts of Britain in summer months.
Did you know?Barrel jellyfish are the favourite food of leatherback turtles, the world's largest sea turtle.
How people can helpReport your barrel jellyfish sightings to your local Wildlife Trust. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. You can do your bit for our marine wildlife by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.
If reporting jellyfish sightings to your local Wildlife Trust please provide date, location, number (and ideally a picture) information for the accurate creation of sighting records.