UK Seas

Discover the wonderful sea creatures that inhabit the UK seas and shores

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UK seas is a guide to the fauna and flora found around UK coasts. While the majority of species are marine, some species are included that are regularly encountered on land by the coast, so you’ll find descriptions of non-marine species such as reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants as well.


Barrel jellyfish

Rhizostoma octopus

A surprisingly substantial jelly, robust and spherical, with no tentacles but eight thick frilled arms. It is bulky and white with pretty purplish fringe.
Picture of Barrel jellyfish

Blue jellyfish

Cyanea lamarckii

Purplish blue lines radiate visibly through the bell-shaped body. Similar in shape to lion's mane, but much smaller, and with a relatively mild sting - though this can still be painful.
Picture of Blue jellyfish

Compass jellyfish

Chrysaora hysoscella

Colour variable, but usually has pale umbrella-shaped bell with brown V-shaped markings, a little like the divisions on a compass. Possibly the most typical-looking jellyfish, with round bell-shaped body and long tentacles. Also called "sea nettle", this jellyfish stings.
Picture of Compass jellyfish

Lions mane jellyfish

Cyanea capillata

Large, reddish brown, umbrella-shaped bell with a mass of long, thin hair-like tentacles. A striking animal, beautiful but dangerous, with a potentially severe sting.
Picture of Lions mane jellyfish

Moon jellyfish

Aurelia aurita

Transparent, umbrella-shaped bell edged with short hair-like tentacles, and four rings towards centre. Mostly harmless, though may sting sensitive skin. Very common, can bloom in large numbers when our chilly seas begin to warm up, or cool down.
Picture of Moon jellyfish

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