[Ocean Oasis Field Guide] Satellite image of the Baja California peninsula and Gulf of California See Spanish version

Phacellophora camtschatica
Fried egg jellyfish

Phylum Cnidaria
Class Scyphozoa
(Jellies, jellyfish)


Jellyfish have a gelatinous consistency and their tissues are 95% water. The bell in fried egg jellies measures about 60 cm (24 inches) in diameter. The transparent margin consists of 16 large lobes that alternate with small lobes, each lobe containing clusters of up to 25 tentacles. These tentacles can measure up to 6 m (20 feet) long. Phacellophora is often confused with the Lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata).

Size: To capture their zooplankton food, jellies discharge harpoon-like stingers coiled inside a fluid-filled capsule — the nematocyst. The tentacles of jellyfish are covered by thousands of nematocysts. This stinging apparatus is characteristic of the phylum Cnidaria (e.g. jellyfish, corals, sea anemones.)

Range and Habitat

Pelagic, from Alaska to southern California, worldwide in temperate oceans.

Natural History

The bell in this species looks like a fried egg with a broken yolk — hence, its common name. While drifting, this jelly pulsates the bell slowly and spends some time motionless. Small juvenile jacks can often be seen swimming among the tentacles. The fried egg jellyfish may also have juvenile crabs and amphipods living on top of and underneath the bell.

photo of fried egg jellyfish, from Ocean Oasis copyright CinemaCorp of the Californias

Good illustrations of the parts of a jellyfish can be found at

Text by Patricia Beller
Photograph from Ocean Oasis © 2000 CinemaCorp of the Californias

Field Guide | Site Index | Ocean Oasis Introduction

Quail Logo © 2000 San Diego Natural History Museum