Top Five most dangerous jellyfish in Maryland

Some species of jellyfish are highly native to the Chesapeake Bay, a region in Maryland. The species include Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita), lion’s mane jellyfish (cyanea capillata), and Sea nettles (Chrysaora quinquecirrha). They can reach the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from May to late November. Moon jellyfish reach the Bay in the summertime. They exist in all types of water such as open water, salty water, and tidal river. Protect yourself from the jellyfish while swimming in these areas because their stings can cause an itching sensation, excruciating pain, and lesions on the skin.

Moon Jellyfish

The moon jellyfish whose scientific name is Aurelia aurita is translucent in appearance and live in the all world’s ocean. The size of the bell is approximately equal to the plate size and is characterized by the four circles that can be seen through the translucent bell. The four circles are the reproductive organs of moon jellyfish that are located near the stomach. The tentacles are delicate and they grow from the sides of the bell. The tentacles can catch prey and send it into the mouth part. They swim near the water’s surface and can easily be identified through their four purple circles in the center. They have two stages polyp and medusa. Medusa is the adult, usual jellyfish that we see.

Moon Jellyfish

It is considered the least dangerous jellyfish because its venom is not enough potent to puncture the skin. Moreover, the stinging cells are small in size and are not powerful. The victim may feel mild irritation, pain, and minor stinging sensation after getting stung but it vanishes after some time. The simplest way of treating the sting is to wash the area with seawater. In case of persistent irritation, you may use baking soda mixed with seawater. The diet of jellyfish is only small fishes, plankton, and other small creatures. They harm fisheries, hence they can cause economic problems for humans. It also interferes with water uptake by plants affecting their growth.

Sea nettles (Chrysaora quinquecirrha)

The sea nettle belongs to the genus Chrysaora and it is a group of 15 species. The group has given the common name sea nettle because of the resemblance of its sting with the nettle or bee. Chrysaora is a Greek word that means “having golden sword” because Most of the sea nettles have golden sea arms or tentacles. Their size, shape, and color depend upon the species. The bell size can reach approximately 3 feet in diameter while the tentacles can grow up to 15-20 feet. The color of the bell is mostly semi-transparent or opaque while the oral arms and tentacles can be of different colors mostly consisting of reddish gold. They live in all oceans but most commonly near the coastline. The most common sea nettle that is found in Maryland is the Atlantic sea nettle whose scientific name is Chrysaora quinquecirrha. Its defense system is very strong which makes it invulnerable to most animals. Numerous nematocytes present in each tentacle help in its better survival.

Chrysaora quinquecirrha

Its sting is graded from moderate to severe and is dangerous to smaller prey. It only causes an allergic reaction in humans and is not able to cause death. The sting is not particularly dangerous but can cause mild to the moderate disturbance in affected individuals. By sprinkling vinegar over the injured area, the sting can be successfully mitigated. This prevents unfired nematocytes from causing more disturbance.

Lion’s Mane

Its scientific name is Cyanea capillata. It may be the world’s largest jellyfish, so it is known as the giant jellyfish. It is also known as arctic red jellyfish or hair jelly. Its lifespan is 12 months. It features a bell that is more than two meters across, which is the main component of its body. It feeds on tiny crustaceans, small fishes, fish larvae and eggs, copepods, and other jellies, especially moon jellies. It can only be found in the northern waters, such as the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. It can live in cool water. Throughout their adult lives, they like to float near the surface in open water, yet they end up spending their days in shallow bays. They rarely go into the deep water. The stings are not dangerous but can cause pain. If someone gets stung by it, he should move away from the water and should observe the area of the sting. If some tentacles are present on the skin, do not touch them with your hands. Remove these remnants by using tweezers.

Lion's Man Jellyfish

Man of War

It is also known by another name called the man of war. It is a marine hydrozoan found on Florida beaches. Although the Portuguese man o war is a popular jellyfish on Florida beaches, it is not a real jellyfish. True jellyfish live their life as single multicellular organisms but these make colonies to carry out the usual activities of life. This species lives on the surface, relying on currents, tides, and wind to capture its inflated sail and carry it to food sources, which is how it frequently ends up on the shore. It traps its food in its tentacles. It feeds on young fish and small fish. Its tentacles which may range from 10 to 30 meters in length are armed with venom-filled nematocytes that, if touched by human skin, will administer a terrible sting. Never contact this species because their nematocytes remain active even after the animal is dead. The sting causes welt formation immediately that remains for some time followed by skin rashes that persist longer almost one month. Sting may cause redness of the skin and the formation of white sores. Its stings are not different than other jellyfish stings. Their stings and bits of a tentacle can be removed by vinegar.

Man of War

Bay Nettle

It is smaller than the usual sea nettle and is specifically found in the Chesapeake Bay. It eats predators of oysters in the oceans and helps in their population growth. They are colorful entities of the marine world and are present in different colors such as white, red, brown, etc. The designs are also different such as they may have colored spots, ribbon-like stripes, and other beautiful patterns on their bodies. These characteristic patterns may lose as the salinization of oceans increases.

Their stings are also not much dangerous. They cause moderate pain, itching sensation, and skin lesion. If the body is allergic to the sting, then a serious allergic reaction may develop.

Bay Nettle


Jellyfish have tentacles with stinging cells which hang from the bell. These stinging cells are nematocysts. Jellyfish have a body that is transparent and gelatinous and an umbrella-shaped bell which is called medusa. Sea nettles, the moon jellyfish, and the lion’s mane jellyfish are among the most abundant jellyfish in Maryland. They feed on large species like fish and sea turtles. They can also capture small creatures. They reproduce by a sexual and asexual method. They can cause harm to humans by stinging them.