The compass jelly is one of three species that are endemic to the South African coast. They grow large with a bell circumference of up to 80cm across and from the top of its bell to the end of its frilly oral arms, they can grow to over 2m long.

The compass jelly goes through many colour changes as it matures, starting as maroon-coloured ephyrae, becoming transparent as it starts looking like a jelly, then becoming a light pink and developing maroon-pink compass markings once mature.

Swarms (or “smacks”) of these jellies can shut down power plants and ocean mining operations, and cause great damage to fisheries and aquaculture all along the west coast of South Africa. They mainly eat other jellies (they are what’s known as “jellyvivorous”), as well as plankton and fish likes anchovy, horse mackerel and pilchard.

Its sting is only as bad as a bee sting.

Species Facts

  • Endemic to South African waters.
  • Bell circumference up to 80cm.
  • Mainly eats other jellies.