White-spotted Jellyfish

The White-spotted jellyfish is also known as the Australian spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata). The jellyfish feeds primarily on assorted snail species and thrives in the southwestern Pacific.

The bell of the White-spotted jellyfish averages 17-19 inches in diameter but there had been a maximum reported size of 24 inches. However, on Sunset Beach in North Carolina in October, 2007, a White-spotted jellyfish was found on the shore measuring in at 28 inches, perhaps the largest to ever be recorded. In Bogue Sound, further north along the North Carolina coast, smaller White-spotted jellyfish were seen in July of 2007. Though their venom is mild and they are not considered a threat to humans they consume eggs, plankton and larvae of important fish species, which is a cause for concern. The jellyfish consume 13,200 gallons of sea water daily; in doing so they ingest the plankton that inhabitant species need.

The White-spotted jellyfish have been found in great numbers in the Gulf of Mexico since at least 2000. Because it is unknown how the White-spotted jellyfish was introduced to the region it has been speculated that budding polyps were dumped in the Gulf after attaching themselves to ships, or they were carried in a ship’s ballast tank. The White-spotted jellyfish is an invasive species and is a threat to numerous species of shrimp. The medusa grows to an uncommonly large size in the Gulf waters, growing upwards of 23 inches across. Though the White-spotted jellyfish has a mild or non noticeable sting it can be cured with vinegar. As a last resort, salt water may be used.

Since 1945 the White-spotted jellyfish has been found in the waters off of the Hawaiian Islands although, it has not has the same exposure of vast population explosion as found in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The species havs been spotted off of the Southern California coast though it has not been confirmed. The ecological influences of the White-spotted jellyfish have not been determined.

Photo Copyright and Credit