Under the waves in the English Channel over the weekend, biologist Lizzie Daly came face to face with an enormous underwater denizen: a 5-foot-long barrel jellyfish.
Daly was diving near Cornwall, off the coast of the UK, with her colleague Dan Abbott, an underwater photographer. Abbott snapped a remarkable shot of the cream-colored, nearly translucent jelly; it was almost as big as Daly.
“It was breathtaking,” Daly, an ambassador for the United Kingdom’s Marine Conservation Society, told USA Today. “We had been diving for about half an hour, and out of the murky water was this single enormous jellyfish.”
The jellyfish, whose scientific name is Rhizostoma pulmo, is generally harmless and commonly seen during the summer across waters in the UK, as well as the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Black Seas.
It’s largest jellyfish species found in Britain, nut this particular specimen was bigger than any Daly or Abbott had seen before.
“I’ve never seen a barrel fish or any jellyfish that big,” Daly said in a video that she and Abbott produced about the encounter for Wild Ocean Week. “It was the size of my body.”
Typically, barrel jellies’ mushroom-shaped, domed ends (called bells) can reach 3 feet in diameter. The animal can weigh up to 77 pounds.
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SOURCE: Business Insider, Aylin Woodward