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There has recently been an increase in sightings along the UK coast of Compass jellyfish's. Although there are over 200 different species of Jellyfish in the world there are only 6 within the British coastal waters and only a couple of these pose a credible threat to bathers. 

As the school holidays are approaching and the current British heatwave is expected to continue well into the summer holidays and on into August people will be taking the opportunity to visit the local coastal attractions. So here is BeSure Training's quick guide and run down of the UK's resident Jellyfish and what to do if you or somebody happens to be stung. 


1:- Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)

It is identifiable by four white rings. The stingers on this Jellyfish are not powerful enough to penetrate human skin.

2:- Compass jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella)

The Compass Jellyfish can grow up to 30 cm in size, they stay mainly out at sea but warm weather and tides can bring them to the shore. This one is identified by the dark compass markings which are clearly visible in the image and its sting is said to be very painful.

3:- Lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata)

This is the 2nd longest recorded animal in the world, it has red and orange tentacles. Its sting causes temporary pain and redness and medical attention is recommended because of the number of stings that can be delivered, said to feel similar to electric shock. The tentacles can also be broken up in storms but still have the ability to sting.

This link provides an image and information. LIONS MANE JELLYFISH

4:- Dustbin-lid jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo)

This Jellyfish also known as the Barrel Jellyfish can grow to an immense size as the name suggests potentially up to 90 cm in diameter but, it size is disproportionate to its sting which is not powerful.

5. Blue jellyfish (Cyanea lamarckii)

Bright blue and grows to 10 - 20 cm but has been found as big as 30 cm. The Blue Jellyfish is armed with a large amount of stingers which are similar to that of stinging nettles. This link provides an image and information. BLUE JELLYFISH

6:- Mauve stinger (Pelagia noctiluca)  RARE IN UK

As the name suggests these are purple and can be identified by the colour, its 4 main tentacles and its 8 longer and thinner tentacles. They are usually 6-12 cm but known to be up to 20 cm. The stinger is quite nasty and classed as highly irritating, the stings can cause a burning feeling, usually hives with possible blisters and scabs. Patients can also present with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and breathing disorders. ADVISABLE TO SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE



1:- DO rinse the affected area with seawater (not fresh water).

2:- DO remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card.

3:- DO soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use hot flannels or towels if you can't soak it.

4:- DO take painkillers like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.

6:- DO seek Medical attention if condition deteriorates. 


1:- DO NOT use vinegar (This can cause un-fired stingers to activate if still on the skin)

2:- DO NOT pee on the sting (Old wives tail it’s not going to work.)

3:- DO NOT apply ice or a cold pack.

4:- DO NOT touch any spines with your bare hands.

5:- DO NOT cover or close the wound.

Seek medical assistance if you are:-

In severe pain that isn't going away or you have been stung on your face or genitals.

Seek Emergency Assistance A&E or 999 if after a sting you have:-

Difficulty breathing.

Chest pain.

Fits or seizures.

Severe swelling around the affected area.

Severe bleeding.


Lightheaded or loss of consciousness.

So there you have a quick rundown of whats lurking in the sea waters off the UK coast and others waters around the world. Hopefully you will not need to use this information apart from to identify one that you may spot in the water and not be stung by one.


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