A warning has been issued by the Lytham and Blackpool Coastguard after dozens of Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, washed up on the coast between Fylde and Lytham St Annes this week. The Jellyfish are potentially dangerous if touched, as they can still sting when dead, though the stings are no worse than those of Bees or Wasps, and not generally dangerous unless people have an allergic reaction. The Jellyfish are far more dangerous when encountered in the water, as their tentacles can entangle swimmers, resulting in large numbers of stings, which can cause the swimmer to go into shock and drown.
A Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Cyaneae capillata, off the coast of Sweden in 2016. Wikimedia Commons.
The Lion's Mane Jellyfish is the largest known species of Jellyfish, reaching over 2 m in diameter and with tentacles that can be more than 30 m in length. They are exclusively found in cooler temperate waters around the North Atlantic, North Pacific, Arctic Ocean and Baltic Sea. They are pelagic, able to swim against currents under their own energy, rather than drifting as many Jellyfish do, and spend most of their lives in open water, but they move into coastal waters towards the end of their annual life-cycle, when the (sexual) medusae produce eggs, which in turn hatch into a polyp which attaches to the seafloor in shallow waters, from which new medusae bud off asexually.
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