Scientific name: Rhizostoma pulmo
The largest jellyfish found in UK seas, most people's first encounter with them is when they wash ashore in early summer.
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. They can grow to the size of dustbin lids - giving them their other common name: dustbin-lid jellyfish! They are attracted inshore by plankton blooms which provide a plentiful supply of food. They have 8 arms, each frilly in appearance. These frills actually contain their small stinging tentacles which 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.
In our area
If you see a barrel jellyfish, please report it to the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, here.