Jellyfish information

Large blooms of jellyfish occur on occasion in Victorian waters. They generally move back to sea inside a week or two.

Jellyfish movements are influenced by factors including winds and currents, nutrient levels in the water and water temperature.

Two jellyfish species are typically seen in high populations in Port Phillip Bay – the Catostylus (Blubber) and Cyanea (Hair jelly, Snottie, Lions Mane).

Neither variety is medically harmful and will typically only cause minor to moderate skin irritation. If stinging occurs on the face or if there are any doubts always seek medical assistance.

Catostylus (Blubber) jellyfish. Picture: Surf Life Saving

Blubber jellyfish
Mushroom shaped bell 5-30cm in diameter. No tentacles but eight “fronds” or “frills” hanging underneath. The sting causes minor skin irritation.

Cyanea (Hair jelly, Snottie, Lion’s Mane) jellyfish at Elwood Beach.

Lion’s Mane
Large flat bell 4-30cm in diameter with a large “mop” of fine hair-like tentacles 5-50cm long. Bell top is usually white but often with yellow or red brown colouring under bell. The sting can cause minor to moderate skin irritation.

Stings from these jellyfish are easily treated.

First, wash the affected area with seawater to remove any stinger cells still on the skin not visible to the naked eye. Then place ice on the area for a maximum of 20 minutes to assist in reducing pain.

Please ask a lifesaver when they’re on duty if you have any questions before heading into the water or need assistance treating a sting as they have access to ice packs stored at the club.

The treatment is different to advice for tropical jellyfish stings (ie box jellyfish and Irukandji not common to Victoria) which consists of dousing the affected area with vinegar.