Pelagica noctiluca Click to enlarge image
Purple Stinger, Pelagica noctiluca Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    noctiluca
    Genus
    Pelagica
    Family
    Pelagiidae
    Order
    Semaeostomeae
    Class
    Scyphozoa
    Phylum
    Cnidaria
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    10 cm

Introduction

The Purple Stinger is a delicate, small and attractively coloured jellyfish with four fragile mouth arms and eight tentacles around the bell.

Identification

The Purple Stinger is a delicate, small and attractively coloured jellyfish with four fragile mouth arms and eight tentacles around the bell.

Habitat

The Purple Stinger lives in oceans and coastal waters.

Distribution

Purple Stingers are throughout eastern Australia.

Other behaviours and adaptations

It is also sometimes known as the 'purple people-eater' because it can deliver a nasty sting. The tentacles, mouth, arms and bell are covered in tiny dots, which are bundles of stinging cells (nematocysts) that will leave a painful, itchy rash if you come into contact with them.

The Purple Stinger is commonly encountered in summer on Sydney's beaches. Whether it is actually present in higher numbers in summer is uncertain, for it could just be that more jellyfish are noticed because more people swim in the summer.

Danger to humans

These jellyfish can deliver a painful sting. If stung, apply a cold pack to relieve the pain if necessary.