9 Weird and wonderful jellyfish of the world

The underwater phenomena with a species list so diverse it ranges from the harmless floating creatures of the ocean to life-threatening killing machines. There are thousands of jellyfish varieties in the world’s oceans, each one more bizarre, beautiful, and baffling than the last, so here’s a pick of the most impressive.

 

Flower hat jellyfish

Olindias formosa

Often found floating off the coasts of the southern Japanese islands, this variety gets its name from the unique shape of its main body.

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Upside-down jellyfish

Cassiopea

The eight species of jellyfish that make up the genus Cassiopea live upside-down on the floor of warm, costal waters.

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Moon jellyfish

Aurelia aurita

Also known as the common jellyfish, this species is found worldwide, drifting with the currents. It can be easily identified by its four horseshoe-shaped reproductive organs.

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Freshwater jellyfish

Craspedacusta sowerbyi

These measure just a few millimetres across, but have between 50 and 500 tentacles. Four of these are very long and provide stability when swimming.

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Fried-egg jellyfish

Phacellophora camtschatica

This large jellyfish is found in cold waters and has such a weak sting that young crabs aren’t afraid to catch a ride, or even steal food from the jelly’s tentacles.

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White spotted jellyfish

Phyllorhiza punctata

Measuring around half a metre in diameter, white spotted jellyfish are almost spherical. Their bodies are covered in white crystalline spots.

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Portuguese man o’ war

Physalia physalis

Often mistaken for a jellyfish, the deadly Portuguese man o’ war is not one organism, but a colony, made up of four different types of polyps.

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Crystal jellyfish

Aequorea victoria

This colourless jellyfish has a bioluminescent ring around its bell, where two proteins work together to produce green light.

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Crossota

Crossota

These incredible red jellyfish live deep in the ocean waters, inhabiting depths of below a kilometre (0.6 miles), where pressures the pressure is immense.

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