Types of Jellyfish in Florida – These gelatinous blobs mostly drift through our oceans, often at the mercy of the current and the wind, with no other goal than to feed and reproduce. and frighten unsuspecting swimmers!
With approximately 200,000 jellyfish stings recorded in Florida each year, you may be interested in knowing what types of jellyfish Florida has lurking in its waters and what (if any) danger they pose. So, What Types of jellyfish in Florida? here is a list of some of the most common (or simply interesting!) jellyfish species in Florida.
In Florida, moon jellyfish are extremely common. They’re also fairly common in the world’s oceans. Moon jellyfish are approximately 10-16 inches (25-40 cm) in diameter and have a very clear/transparent appearance.
They are easily distinguished by their four purple-ish horseshoe-shaped markings. A moon jelly’s translucent appearance makes it more difficult to spot than other jellies, especially if you’re in very clear water to begin with.
However, moon jellies are not dangerous to humans; in fact, they have a very mild sting that most people will not even notice (others may simply feel some mild irritation).
Portuguese Man O’War
The tentacles of the Man o’War can still actively sting you several days after death, so never touch one even if it appears to be dead, or you may be in for a nasty surprise!
The sting of one of these guys can be extremely painful. Despite the fact that thousands of cases of stings are reported each year, deaths caused by Portuguese Man O War are uncommon, and are frequently the result of a severe allergic reaction to the sting.
Atlantic Sea Nettle
Plankton, minnows, crustaceans, and other jellies are all eaten by the carnivorous Atlantic Sea Nettle! The sting of Atlantic Sea Nettle is considered moderately painful. It is not a human killer, but it may cause an allergic reaction, which, depending on the individual, could be fatal.
Cannonball jellyfish (also known as cabbagehead jellyfish) are another common jelly found in Florida waters and on Florida beaches. They can grow to be quite large, and as you might expect, they are named after their round bell, which is similar to that of a cannonball.
The sting of a cannonball jellyfish is relatively mild, making them relatively harmless to humans. Their sting can cause minor skin irritation such as itching, but it will definitely cause eye irritation! (Although it is still best not to touch them). Spider crabs frequently inhabit the bell of cannonball jellyfish, and you can often find one hiding inside one, eating the jelly’s leftover plankton.
Cannonball jellyfish are also commercially harvested for human consumption.
The By-The-Wind Sailor, like the Portuguese Man O War, is a collective of organisms that work together in unison.
By-the-wind sailors will drift around with the currents and tides, and are thus frequently found washed up on Florida beaches (sometimes in the hundreds or even thousands), particularly after a storm. Its stinging tentacles beneath the water’s surface will catch small prey such as fish, plankton, and invertebrate eggs.
They are only about 7cm long and are relatively harmless to humans. Their sting is very mild (if felt at all) and may only cause minor skin irritation. You should, however, avoid touching one of these and then touching your eyes!
The pink meanie was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in the 2000s. It was finally classified as a distinct species ten years later, making it the first newly classified jellyfish species since 1921. This cannibalistic jelly will happily feast on other jellyfish, primarily moon jellyfish.
The pink meanie can grow to be very large, with a diameter of 3 feet, and while it does live in the Gulf of Mexico and a few have been spotted on Florida beaches, it is also a very rare jellyfish to come across. So, if you happen to see one, make sure to take a photo of this rare!
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