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Explore the coastal and inland waters of
Washington and BC
Typical size: 1-4” length
ID: Round transparent bell with white internal organs that make a distinctive "X" pattern across the bell.
Comments: A common jellyfish that I note throughout Washington waters in summer months. Photo taken at Mushroom Rock in the Cape Flattery area.
Typical size: 24”-36" length
ID: Brown round bell with long brown tentacles. White organs visible underneath the bell
Comments: I almost never note this jellyfish. This picture was taken during a chance encounter after diving Duncan rock in the Cape Flattery area. I am actually snorkling with this jelly east of Duncan Rock in 300 feet of water. And yes, this jelly packs a sting.
Typical size: 1-3” length
ID: Round bell with internal organs obvious. Row of small red "eyes" circle the base of the bell.
Comments: I rarely note this spectacular jellyfish when diving around Cape flattery. However, I almost always note it when shore diving Sekiu jetty in the summer, which is where this picture was taken. This jellyfish can retracts it tentacles somewhat. Also referred to as a pencil jellyfish.
Typical size: 4-8" diameter
ID: Semi-transparent bell with four distinctive circular organs visible from topside.
Comments: I commonly note this jellyfish in summer months, especially in Hood Canal. This photo was taken in Stuart Channel in the Canadian Gulf Islands during winter, when these jellyfish were plentiful. This specimen is about 6" across. I typically only note these jellyfish in the top water layers.
Typical size: 2-4” diameter
ID: Flat "dinner plate" shaped bell. Often drifts in current with tentacles pointing upward, as pictured here.
Comments: Summer months are when the jellies really come alive in Washington waters. I most often note this distinctive species when diving the Cape Flattery area. Photo taken at Mushroom Rock.
Tiny Red Sausage Jelly
Typical size: 0.5-1” length
ID: Transparent body with obvious red internal organ. Three or four tentacles.
Comments: I don't name them; I just report on them. Several species of similar looking jellies are lumped into this entry. I only note this jelly in summer, typically when in the shallows performing a safety stop in light current. Photo taken while snorkeling at Mushroom Rock in the Cape Flattery area.
Typical size: 2-4” diameter
ID: Round bell with lines radiating from the center towards the edge of the bell.
Comments: These are common and beutiful jellies. Photographed in very clear waters in Stuart Channel in the Canadian Gulf Islands.
Fried Egg Jellyfish
Typical size: 4-24" diameter
ID: Translucent white bell with stream veil and long tentacles. Yellow internal organs.
Comments: The white color of the bell and yellow internal organs give this jellyfish the "fried egg" name. These jellies can grow huge - the one in this photo is over 18" across with tentacles at least 6 feet long. Fortunately, this jelly's tentacles do not pack much of a sting. Photo take at Flagpole Point in Hood Canal. This jelly primarily feeds on other jellyfish.
Typical size: 1” diameter
ID: Rounded half-ball like bell with prominently visible internal orange, red, brown, or purple organs that form an "X" pattern. Numerous long tentacles.
Comments: I only occasionally note this jellyfish when diving summer months. This species will often attach to eelgrass. Photo taken at Pile Point of the south side of San Juan Island.
Typical size: 12-24" diameter
ID: Eight lobes on bell. Reddish-brown internal organs. Long trailing tentacles.
Comments: This species is also referred to as a sea blubber. Although this one doesn't have long tentacles, lion's manes trail stinging tentacles that can be over 30' feet long. The nymatocysts pack quite a sting (like a nasty bee sting), but the effect usually wears off after 4 or 5 hours. Rubbing the sting just makes it worse. Photo taken at Pile Point off San Juan Island.
Typical size: 2-4” length
ID: Unique front lobes open allowing the animal to consume prey. Comb rows run the length of the body.
Comments: This jelly is a common inhabitant of our waters during summer months. Note the iridescent comb rows, which are used to propel the animal up and down in the water column. Despite the locomotion capability, the fragile combjelly is relegated to a life of drifting on the currents, as are all other jellies.
Oval-Anchored Stalked Jelly
Typical size: 1" diameter
ID: Eight tentacles and bump-like structures radiating from a stalk that anchors the animal.
Comments: The sedentary jelly typically attaches itself to kelp or eel-grass, however it's small size makes it difficult to find. Photographed near Pearse Island in the Northern Johnstone Strait, British Columbia.
Red Stalked Jelly
Typical size: 1-2" length
ID: Eight tentacles, red bell and stalk.
Comments: This little stalked jellyfish is fairly small and often hard to spot. Even more difficult is shooting this surf-loving invertebrate as it flops from side to side in the surf. Photographed at Effingham Island in Barkley Sound in British Columbia.
Windowed Stalked Jelly
Typical size: 1.5-3” length
ID: Long, vase shape with eight sets of short arms. Typically green and pink/red in color. Stalk can retract.
Comments: Believe it or not these are jellyfish, that have decided that the nomadic life is not for them. These jellies use their short arms to capture and feed on small animals like amphipods. This specimen is unusual in that it is white and pink - most are green. I often find stalked jellies when diving the eel-grass beds of Sekiu Jetty Rocks.
Typical size: 0.5-1" length
ID: Distinctive bulbous extension of bell. Short tentacles that can extend longer than the bell.
Comments: A plankton feeder, this tentacles of this tiny jelly pictured are retracted. Note the host of small amphipods catching a ride on this jelly. Photographed in Peavine Pass, San Juan Islands at a depth of 5 feet.
Flabby Circle Salp
Typical size: 1-2” length
ID: Segmented gelatinous body organized in a circle, trailing filaments.
Comments: Salps are gelatinous chain animals. Where as most segments salps i note for long chains, this one has it's segment arranged in a circle. Photographed in Browning Pass in March, which is the only time of year I have note this salp in abundance.
Hanging Stomach Jelly
Typical size: 1" diameter
ID: Pointed bell with suspended organs below bell.
Comments: This active swimming jelly is seasonal - I only note it Spring - which is true for many jellies. It feeds on other small jellies. Photographed at Pile Point, San Juan Islands.