If you want to know what it would be like to get stung by a Lion's Mane but not actually have it happen then just keep reading!  First off, if you are stung you will feel a sharp stinging pain for about 30 seconds after contact.  Then an excruciating burning sensation will last for around 20 minutes.  This is then followed by reddening of the skin (erythema) and also blistering underneath if bad enough . Now don't worry if you listen to your parents and put ample amounts of sunscreen on, you may actually be in luck! When stung by a Lion's Mane without any lotion/oil on the skin, studies have shown that 100% of their Cnidocytes (stinging cells) are triggered. Therefore, the maximum amount of venom is then released from the nematocyst. But if you followed your parents instructions and put sunscreen on, only 8%-39% of the cnidocytes would be triggered!  I know listening to your parents is a painful thing in itself, but I would rather suck it up and put on the sunscreen than feel the full wrath of the Lion's Mane Jellyfish.  If you're thinking "I'll just be really careful and look out for jellyfish" you aren't in the clear yet!  You don't just have to worry about swimming close to a Lion's Mane. In areas where they are abundant, there have been cases of people being stung from the detached tentacles that got ripped off the body of the jellyfish and caught in a net.


Even though the Lion's Mane is an incredibly skilled predator, there are still a few things who dare eat it.  Animals like the Leather back turtles use Cyanea capillata as a main source of food in many regions around the globe.  Another specimen that feeds on the Lion's Mane are seabirds.  When the Cyanea capillata come up to the surface (typically more often towards the end of their life span) the seabirds can easily come down and feast upon them.  A few other predators are larger fish and other jellyfish.  You might think being so large like the Lion's Mane might make you an easy target for predators but they are no where near to becoming endangered. 


The Lion's Mane is known for capturing prey with its powerful sting, but what most people do not know is that they actually play nice with several other organisms.  The first mutual relationship the Cyanea capillata has is with the small crab megalops larva that lives on the outside of its bell and helps keep it clean.  The second mutual relationship it has is with the Pilot fish.  These fish are lucky enough to not be affected by the Lion's Mane's powerful sting.  This relationship is demonstrated on the image to the right of this text.  Practicially all tropical jellyfish have a mutual relationship with a Dinoflagellate, and Cyanea capillata is no exception. Zooxanthellae is a Dinoflagellates that lives inside the jellyfish.  This tiny protist creates energy from sunlight and also organic molecules that the jellyfish can then use.  In return, the jellyfish excretes ammonium molecules for the Zooxanthellae to use.  As I said before, this relationship is primarily in the tropical regions and are therefore only found in the smaller Lion's Mane jellyfish.  Another important mutual relationship the Lion's Mane jellyfish has is with shrimp.  Cyanea capillata helps protect and provide food for the shrimp while the shrimp plays a similar role as the crab larva.  


I bet when you think about jellyfish, parasites don't even cross your mind.  In reality there are a few parasites brave enough to double cross a jellyfish.  The Gooseneck barnacles are only found on the Scyphozoans, and especially the Cyanea. The next parasite is Hyperia galba, which is shown on the picture to the left of this text.  The topic of parasites on jellyfish are still up for debate because we do not know much about their relationships as of now. 


Cyanea capillata is a very efficient hunter and feeds on several different types of organisms such as the comb jellies, the moon jellyfish, arrow worms, and many others! To learn more about what the Lion's Mane feeds on visit my Nutrition page!



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