Some Information about the Jellyfish;

The word "Fish" doesn't really apply to these aquatic creatures, as they're not really a fish, but I shall refer to them as Jellyfish throughout this page, as this is what they're best known as. There are several different species of Jellyfish which have made their presence known in our shores over the last few years, from the inch Freshwater Jellyfish, that doesn't sting you, to the Lions main Jellyfish, with tentacles up to 120 ft long. The important message here for us all to learn and you pass on to your friends loved ones is; most of these babies sting and some species more than others, their fine delicate tentacles are armed with a venomous .... substance

Who'd have thought that such graceful and angelic like creatures such as the Jellyfish, could carry such a painfully direct and sometimes fatal message across, it's like the flames of a fire that dance in the breeze, as children we were all tempted to touch them, only to learn (be taught) the valuable lesson that all isn't what it may seem.

If you or someone you know gets stung by a Jellyfish, the pain is instantaneous and should be treated ASAP, below is some first aid guidance of what to do if you or someone you know has been stung.

Be also aware that a washed up Jellyfish may still sting just as much as one in the water.


FIRST AID; Video-link

  1. Do Not; Wash the area with tap or mineral water, anything other than SALTWATER will only inflame the area more.
  2. Take a handful of SAND from the seawater and rub it vigorously into the affected area, this should reduce the amount of toxin.
  3. Apply a VINEGAR solution to the area, this should help neutralize the poison, BUT NOT if stung by a Portuguese Man O' War this will only aggravate then apply some AMMONIA, this will also help in neutralizing the poison and give a little pain relief.
  4. Apply some ALOE VERA to help soothe the skin.


  1. There's no alternative I know of washing a Jellyfish Stung area, other than SALTWATER.
  2. SAND is always readily available at the moment of being stung, or youcould just rub the area with SEA SALT.
  3. A SALAD DRESSING or other Vinegar based Substance may be also used, orsimply SALTWATER.
  4. URINE is also an effective AMMONIA Substance if nothing else is available.

If you're going to the beach, you could readily prepare yourself an on scene first aid kit to take with you, as it's always better safe than sorry.


FIRST AID; for Portuguese Man o' War Stings
Recommended treatment for Man-of-War stings includes immediate

  1. Remove any tentacles with tweezers, wearing rubber gloves
  2. (do not rub the affected area as this will only spread the sting)
  3. Wash in lots of saltwater first.
  4. This can be followed by immersion of the affected areas in warm, fresh water (no warmer than bath temperature) for 20 minutes.

apply an ice pack once the stings have been removed, to help ease inflammation.

WARNING; Under no circumstance should vinegar be used on stings from this animal as this can make them worse.

Anyone who is worried about a Portuguese Man-of-War sting should
immediately consult a doctor.

Warning; Never use Vinegar when treating a sting from the Portuguese Man of War, as it may not only aggravate the area, but also increase the toxin levels and even provoke hemorrhaging.


Identification Guide;

Portuguese Man o' War - (Physalia physalis)

The body of the Portuguese Man o' War is a gas-filled, bladderlike float, which may be from 3" inches to 1ft long which is visible above the waterline. It's translucent structure is tinted Pink, Blue, or Violet and beneath this float are tentacles of up to 50 metres (about 165 feet) in length

Please Note; The Portuguese Man of War isn't actually a Jellyfish, and the venom differs from other Jellies, so treating a sting from one of these, is always different please read; FIRST AID; for Portuguese Man o' War Stings.

Luminescent Mauve Stinger Jellyfish - (Pelagia noctiluca)

These Jellies range from Pink to Purple in color and can deliver quite a painful sting, they glow can also in the dark, its main body (bell) can grow to up to 18" inches in diameter.

Compass Jellyfish - (Chrysaora hysoscella)

The transparent body (bell) of the Compass Jellyfish can grow up to 1ft in dia, it is yellowish white, with some brown in colour with 24 tenticles which are in 8 groups of 3, these are a common sight in our British waters.

By-the-Wind Sailor - (Velella velella)

Quite a small jelly in comparison with many others, it's bell doesn't grow much larger than 2 1/2" inches in diameter, deep blue in colour with a stiff sail membrane that gives it its name.

Although the toxins from these jellies are quite harmless to humans, but it's wise to not touch your face or your eyes after handling one of these beauties.

Root-mouth Jellyfish - (Rhizostoma octopus)

Also known as the Dustbin Lid Jelly, the Root-mouth has a thick domeshaped bell, that can grow up to 3ft in Diameter, instead of tenticles it has four pairs of very large oral arms on its undersurface.

Its colour is Whitish or Yellow to Shades of Green, Blue, Pink or Brown.

Lions Mane Jellyfish - (Cyanea capillata)

With a massive bell diameter of up to 8ft, and tentiles up to 120 ft in length, the Lions Mane Jellyfish, is the largest known of our jelly species. The size dictates the coloration of these jellies, larger specimens are a vivid crimson to dark purple while smaller specimens grade to a lighter orange or tan in colour.

Moon Jellyfish - (Aurelia aurita)

These are usually blue in colour, with a translucent body (bell) of 2" - 16" inches in diameter, these can be recognised by their 4 horseshoe-shaped gonads that are easily seen through the top of its bell.


Copyright 2011. BEASTWATCH UK