The mauve stinger jellyfish

Mark Thomas

Mauve stinger

Scientific name: Pelagia noctiluca
This species can pack a powerful sting, so be sure not to get too close!

Species information


Up to 10cm across, thin tentacles up to 3m long

Conservation status


When to see

July to October, dependent on weather and ocean currents


The mauve stinger is a small jellyfish, but it certainly packs a powerful punch, with long tentacles and warty structures on its ‘bell’ full of stinging cells. Small crustaceans known as amphipods hang out inside the ring of tentacles and are able to survive unharmed. The mauve stinger likes to feed on other small jellyfish and oceanic sea squirts, also known as ascidians.

How to identify

This jellyfish usually appears a bluey purple (mauve) colour with a globe shaped umbrella covered in orangey brown warts. Long, thin tentacles hang down from around the bell, reaching a maximum of 3 metres.


Fairly uncommon close to UK shores, but may be found offshore and in warmer European waters such as the Mediterranean.

Did you know?

As its scientific name suggests, this jellyfish can glow brightly at night if disturbed!

How people can help

Report any sightings of jellyfish to your local Wildlife Trust. Look but don't touch – as they give a very painful sting!

How can you help

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