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Animal Database
Animal Database
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Pacific Sea Nettle
Chrysaora fuscescens-1
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Scyphozoa
Order Semaeostomeae
Family Pelagiidae
Genus Chrysaora
Species C. fuscescensi
Conservation Status
Data Deficient

The Pacific Sea Nettle (Chrysaora fuscescens), also known as the West Coast Sea Nettle or Brown Sea Nettle, is a species of planktonic scyphozoan that found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Canada to Mexico. The genus name of sea nettle jellies, Chrysaora, originates from Chrysaor, whcih was a giant and the son of Poseidon and Medusa. His name translates to ‘golden falchion’. A falchion was a commonly used curved fighting sword that could cut through armor, a reference to the stinging ability of these jellies. The West Coast Sea Nettle’s species name, fuscescens, means dusky or dark, referring to the dusky color of the nettle’s bell.


Pacific Sea Nettles have a distinctive golden-brown bell with a reddish tint. There may be a lighter star pattern with 16 to 32 rays on the exumbrella, the outside surface of the bell. The bell can grow to be larger than one meter (three feet) in diameter in the wild, but most are less than 50 cm across. Warts that containing nematocysts (stinging cells) cover the bell. The tentacles and oral arms are dark red to yellow-brown in color. Twenty-four long, ribbon-like, thin tentacles stream from the bell’s margin. Four long, lacy, pointed oral arms spiral out counterclockwise from the center of the bell. The whole structure may trail behind as far as 15 feet (4.6 m), though most sea nettles are smaller.

Distribution and Habitat[]

Pacific Sea Nettles are commonly found along the coasts of California and Oregon, though some reside in the waters north to the Gulf of Alaska, west to the seas around Japan and south to the Baja Peninsula. The populations reach their peak during the late summer. In recent years, Pacific Sea Nettles has become overly abundant off the coast of Oregon.

Pacific Sea Nettles live near the surface of the water in shallow bays and harbors in the fall and winter. In spring and summer, they often form large swarms in deep ocean waters.

Life History[]