A common jellyfish from below as it heads to the surface

Common jellyfish

Delicate and exquisitely coloured, common jellyfish gently drift with the ocean's currents. They’re also known as moon jellies. They have almost translucent saucer-shaped bodies with four bold purple-coloured circular reproductive organs at the centre. Despite their seductive appearance they are formidable predators, feeding on molluscs, crustaceans and worms. Their food is either trapped in the flowing mucus which covers the jellyfish's bell and passed to the oral arms by tiny hairs, or it is actively hunted using stinging tentacles. The stings are not powerful enough to penetrate human skin, so we cannot feel them. Occurring in huge numbers, these are the most common jellyfish found around British coasts. They are also prevalent in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

Scientific name: Aurelia aurita

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common sea jelly,
  • Moon jelly,
  • Moon jellyfish,
  • Saucer jelly

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The Common jellyfish can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, Mediterranean, North America, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Common jellyfish distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Cnidaria
  4. Jellyfish
  5. Semaeostomeae
  6. Ulmaridae
  7. Aurelia
  8. Common jellyfish

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