Purple-Striped Jellyfish
Chrysaora colorata

Physical Description

  • The bell (body) is bowl-shaped and white, with a radial pattern of 16 purple stripes on the bell
  • Juveniles lack the purple stripes on the bell
  • Bell can be up to 3 feet in diameter and tentacles can be as long as 25 feet
  • The tentacles vary with the age of the individual, consisting typically of eight marginal long dark arms, and four central frilly oral arms


  • The coast of California, often near Monterey Bay


  • Primarily pelagic, in nearshore open waters


  • Zooplankton, including copepods, larval fish, ctenophores, salps, other jellies, and fish eggs


  • Primarily preyed upon by leatherback turtles
  • Sunfish and sea turtles

Interesting Facts

  • Also known as the purple-striped sea nettle
  • Often found with young slender crabs hitching a ride in the jelly’s bell. The crabs get a free ride on the jelly, and the crabs eat parasitic amphipods that damage the jelly
  • They have a strong painful sting, but it is not fatal. 

Sources: Monterey Bay Aquarium; National Aquarium; Graham et al. 2010; Aquarium of the Pacific; Scripps Zooplankton Guide

Photo: Tracy Clark

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