An egg-straordinarily big jellyfish has been spotted off B.C.’s Sunshine Coast.
The incredible fried egg or egg yolk jellyfish, known scientifically as Phacellophora camtschatica, was seen bobbing around in Sechelt Inlet during the Paddlers Challenge with Halfmoon Sea Kayaks.
The picture, which was snapped by Donna Harrison, was first shared by Sunshine Coast BC Canada on Facebook July 4. Ocean Wise later shared the picture of the jellyfish, which is estimated to be more than two feet in diameter, on Twitter July 8 and it’s caused a fair bit of egg-citement since.
The species literally looks like an egg cracked into water. It can reach an impressive 60cm in diameter and can grow tentacles up to 20ft long.
Vancouver Aquarium Jellyfish expert, Mackenzie Neale, said the fried egg jellyfish wasn’t the most common jellyfish in B.C. waters, but it also wasn’t uncommon to spot one if you were a frequent diver.
“Up in Howe Sound is where we usually find them, but you can find them all along the coast,” she told Vancouver is Awesome.
“In Vancouver, it’s common to see them around this time of the year because this is the peak of their season. They start off in late winter, early spring as little baby jellies and then they keep growing all year.
“So usually late summer and early fall is when they are at their biggest because that’s when there’s the most food available.”
Neale, who dives often, said the fried egg jellyfish in the picture was the biggest she had ever seen.
“I have seen some around one foot in diameter, maybe getting close to two feet,” she said.
“But that picture looks like it’s well over two feet in diameter.
“That’s the biggest one I’ve seen.”
The fried egg jellyfish gets so big, so quickly because it’s a carnivorous predator and feasts on other jellyfish.
Neale said while this species is quite a sight to behold, she cautioned people not to get too close because they have a strong sting.
“They pack are pretty powerful punch,” she said.
Neale, who has worked at the aquarium for 20 years and specialized in jellyfish for the past 14 years, said they were one of the most photographed sea creatures at the aquarium.
“Everybody loves jellyfish because there’s a little bit of a fear factor with them,” she said.
“They are beautiful and mesmerizing when you watch them.”
If you’d like to see the fried egg jellyfish up close, but aren’t so keen to jump in the ocean, the Vancouver Aquarium has some on display — although they’re not quite the size of the one spotted just yet.