Super Jellyfish?!

The above photo is making the rounds (see here and follow the link trail).  In it the a scuba diver is next to Lion’s Mane Jellyfish.  But I’m calling bullshit on this photo.

Lion’s Maine Jellyfish are indeed big.  The world record had a bell diameter of 7 and half feet (2.29m) and 120 ft long tentacles (37m).I know this because for this paper, I needed data for the largest and smallest species for every animal phylum.

Being a connoisseur of photos of all size extremes, I immediately noted something was off.  Let’s assume the scuba diver is only 5 feet (1.5m) in height.  The width of the jellyfish’s bell is about 3 of  the scuba diver’s length or 15 feet (4.57m).  This would make it twice the size of the world’s largest known specimen.  Zoom in on the diver in the photo and you can see a characteristic Photoshop halo. As well, the hue, shadows, and saturation of the diver don’t match the rest of the photograph.  I also find it interesting I can’t locate any high resolution versions of this image.

A little searching around the internet and I found a photo without diver but it appears Photoshopped as well. Note the oddly light area where the diver was.

So Lion’s Mane Jellyfish…really big, just not that big

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

19 comments on “Super Jellyfish?!
  1. Crikey, they’re impressive enough without someone having to photoshop them to the size of a small planet. I wonder if the bit erased from the bottom pic was a silhouette of a diver behind the jellyfish.

  2. Man From Atlantis – Episode 5 – November 1, 1977
    “Man O’War”: Using his genetic scientists, Schubert produces a giant jellyfish which he intends to release unless his extortion demands are met.

  3. I think you’re probably right about it being BS, but couldn’t the “lit” area of the “original” simply be a photoshopped version of the montage where someone has removed the diver?

  4. the picture without the diver is acutally a (very badly) photoshopped version of the picture with the diver. you clearly see the rest of the divers lamp.

  5. yes Photoshopped for sure! however the 2nd image is a poor re-photoshopped image as the person who did is couldn’t keep the haze the same as it should be, also that photoshopper didn’t even bother to take out the air bubbles from the phoshopped in scuba diver… here i did one that took 20 min and is much better, i even added a submarine that could look like it was actually there but just for an obvious “Ope that is fake!” affect i was looking for… enjoy =)

  6. also note the level of detail and clarity of the jelly fish vs the diver who is closer to you than the critter. No bubbles from the regulator of the diver in the foreground (they would be very obvious given the lighting).

  7. It is so obviously Photoshopped! Lol, I realised it the moment I saw the pic. Some people believe that they can fool anyone and everyone with such tricks.

    The sharpness, haze, lighting, etc., do not match at all. Very poorly executed job.

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