A lion’s mane jellyfish in the Seaway, Gold Coast. Picture: Ian Banks, Diving the Gold Coast
A lion’s mane jellyfish in the Seaway, Gold Coast. Picture: Ian Banks, Diving the Gold Coast

Bizarre jellyfish spotted in Coast waterway

DIVERS were given a rare treat while exploring the Seaway at the weekend.

Ian Banks, of Diving the Gold Coast, spotted this lion's mane jellyfish on Saturday. While the jellyfish is fairly common in the ocean, they are not frequently seen in the Seaway.

And unlike other jellyfish, they do not congregate in huge numbers.

The jellyfish are one of the largest in the world, with their "bell" able to reach a two-metre diameter.

Mr Banks said he usually saw one or two a year, although he did not see one last year.

"It's like its own habitat," he said.

"(This one) was about 50cm across the top."

Jellyfish expert, Professor Kylie Pitt, of Griffith University, said the jellyfish would have floated into the Seaway by chance as they did not have brains, instead relying on the ocean current to travel.

2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition: Animal Behaviour Winner: Devouring a home, Giant Jellyfish, (Tiburonia granrojo) green turtles, Chelonia mydas. Scott Portelli (NSW)
2017 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition: Animal Behaviour Winner: Devouring a home, Giant Jellyfish, (Tiburonia granrojo) green turtles, Chelonia mydas. Scott Portelli (NSW)

"The tentacles can stretch two to three metres and can deliver quite a potent sting," she said, adding congregating fish were believed to hang around the jellyfish for a few reasons.

"If they can avoid contact with the tentacles they can hide from predators … and lots of fish use them as a food source and nibble on them.

"As long as the bite's not quite intense (it's OK). You don't want to kill your habitat."

Prof Pitt said the lion's mare was spotted more frequently in the ocean or washed up on the beach in warmer months, before dying off during the cooler period.

At almost a metre in diameter this Lions Mane jelly fish is a giant. Picture: Hugh Pedersen.
At almost a metre in diameter this Lions Mane jelly fish is a giant. Picture: Hugh Pedersen.

Most jellyfish only live for a few months.

She said the lion's mane jellyfish featured in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Lion's Mane as the unwitting killer of a man who went for a swim in the ocean.

For those unwilling to brave a dive into the Seaway, Sea World's jellyfish exhibition features the lion's mane jellyfish.