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Australian Spotted Jellyfish, Phyllorhiza Punctata

Sunset Beach, NC, October 30, 2007

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Australian Spotted Jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, Sunset Beach, NC, 10/30/07. Each flip flop is precisely 10 inches wide, making the jellyfish appear nearly 30 inches in diameter.
Australian Spotted Jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, showing white spots on edge
I found this very large Australian spotted jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, on Sunset Beach on October 30, 2007. The maximum size reported to date had been 62 cm. Because this specimen is 74 cm. in diameter, I might have captured by camera the world's largest Phyllorhiza punctata.

Unfortunately, the jellyfish is upside down. The grey matter is the portion of the animal where the gasterointestinal and reproductive organs are located. It appears as though the animal recently was reproductively active or about to be before washing onto the beach.

The most significant fact is that this is an invasive or nonindigenous species. Because it is not native to our environment, it will impact animals in our eco-system by consuming the food that native animals need. Although these jellyfish appear to present little danger in terms of their sting, their ability to consume plankton and the eggs and larvae of important fish species is cause for concern. Each jellyfish can filter as much as 13,200 gallons of sea water per day. While doing that, it ingests the plankton that native species need as well as lavae of local fish. This species has been found as far north as Bogue Sound. Other than a couple of dead sharks, it was the largest animal I have ever found on a Brunswick County Beach.