Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Phyllorhiza punctata
(Australian spotted jellyfish)

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Datasheet

Phyllorhiza punctata (Australian spotted jellyfish)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Phyllorhiza punctata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Australian spotted jellyfish
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Cnidaria
  •       Class: Scyphozoa
  •         Order: Rhizostomeae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • The jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, has been introduced to North America from the Western Pacific Ocean and is threatening large commercial fisheries by feeding on the eggs and larvae of f...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Phyllorhiza punctata (Australian spotted jellyfish); habit, swimming in the open ocean nr Haiti. Average size, 45–50 centimetres (18–20 in) in bell diameter. Location: 19° 42′45.93″N, 71° 50′42.12″W
TitleHabit
CaptionPhyllorhiza punctata (Australian spotted jellyfish); habit, swimming in the open ocean nr Haiti. Average size, 45–50 centimetres (18–20 in) in bell diameter. Location: 19° 42′45.93″N, 71° 50′42.12″W
Copyright©Papa Lima Whiskey via Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Phyllorhiza punctata (Australian spotted jellyfish); habit, swimming in the open ocean nr Haiti. Average size, 45–50 centimetres (18–20 in) in bell diameter. Location: 19° 42′45.93″N, 71° 50′42.12″W
Habit Phyllorhiza punctata (Australian spotted jellyfish); habit, swimming in the open ocean nr Haiti. Average size, 45–50 centimetres (18–20 in) in bell diameter. Location: 19° 42′45.93″N, 71° 50′42.12″W©Papa Lima Whiskey via Wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Phyllorhiza punctata Von Lendenfeld, 1884

Preferred Common Name

  • Australian spotted jellyfish

Other Scientific Names

  • Cotylorhiza pacifica Mayer, 1915
  • Cotylorhizoides pacificus Light, 1921
  • Mastigias albipunctatus Stiasny, 1920
  • Mastigias andersoni Stiasny, 1926
  • Mastigias ocellatus Modeer, 1791
  • Mastigias scintillae Soares Moreira, 1961

International Common Names

  • English: spotted jellyfish; white-spotted jellyfish

Summary of Invasiveness

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The jellyfish, Phyllorhiza punctata, has been introduced to North America from the Western Pacific Ocean and is threatening large commercial fisheries by feeding on the eggs and larvae of fish, crab and shrimp; clogging fishing nets; damaging boat intakes and fishing gear; and causing the closure of productive areas to fishing activities.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Cnidaria
  •             Class: Scyphozoa
  •                 Order: Rhizostomeae
  •                     Family: Rhizostomatidae
  •                         Genus: Phyllorhiza
  •                             Species: Phyllorhiza punctata

Description

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The umbrella or bell of Phyllorhiza punctata is nearly semi-spherical; about half as high as broad and punctuated by white crystalline inclusions, giving the appearance of spots. The eight radial canals communicate directly with the stomach and there are 8 thick transparent branching rhopalia (oral arms) which terminate with large brown bundles of stinging cells. 14 lappets are found in each octant of the umbrella. P. punctata average 45-50cm in bell diameter but there has been a maximum reported size of 62cm. Sub-genital ostia are wider than they are high, and the circular sub-umbrella muscles are interrupted by the 8 radial canals. (Hawaii Biological Survey, 2001; and Perry, 2005 in Graham et al. 2003).

There are several differences between Gulf of Mexico populations of P. punctata and others found globally. The two most obvious differences are pigmentation and size. Most populations of P. punctata are very deep brown, owing to the presence of zooxanthellae (algal symbionts). However, the Gulf of Mexico population does not host zooxanthellae. Populations in the Gulf of Mexico are also larger than those found elsewhere (A maximum size of 65cm rather than 35-40cm) (Graham et al. 2001).

Distribution

Top of page Native range: Bolton and Graham (2004) state that Phyllorhiza punctata "was first described from Port Jackson, Australia (von Lendenfeld 1884). Kramp (1965, 1970) reported the species from Cairns, Queensland, Australia, and from Thailand: therefore, its native habitat probably extends north from the south-central coast of eastern Australia, across northern Australia, and perhaps throughout SE Asia".
Known introduced range: Populations of P. punctata have been reported from Western Australia, Phillipines, Hawaii, the Atlantic Basin, Brazil, Puerto Rico, the eastern Meditteranean (Bolton and Graham, 2004; Graham et al. 2001). Populations from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are geograpically closer to each other than those populations on the west coast of the United States and Australia. Analyses show that populations from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are the least similar to each other and it is most likely that P. punctata in the Gulf of Mexico orginate from either Australia or the West Coast (Bolton and Graham, 2004).

 

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Sea Areas

Atlantic, Western CentralPresentIntroduced1993 Invasive ISSG, 2011
Mediterranean and Black SeaPresentIntroduced1990ISSG, 2011

Asia

PhilippinesPresentIntroduced1921ISSG, 2011
South East AsiaPresentNativeISSG, 2011

North America

USAPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2011
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Invasive ISSG, 2011
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced1981ISSG, 2011
-FloridaPresentIntroduced2001ISSG, 2011
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced1993ISSG, 2011

Central America and Caribbean

Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011

South America

BrazilPresentIntroduced1955ISSG, 2011
-BahiaPresentIntroducedISSG, 2011

Oceania

AustraliaPresentNativeISSG, 2011
-New South WalesPresentNativeISSG, 2011
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced1843 or earlierISSG, 2011

Habitat

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P. punctata prefers warm temperate seas and is often abundantly aggregated in nearshore waters (Elkhorn Slough Foundation, undated). P. punctata is indigenous to the tropical western Pacific Ocean. It can often be found swimming near the surface in murky waters near estuaries in harbours and embayments. P. punctata has a wide distribution along Australian coastal and lagoon waters and range throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean including the Philippine archipelago (Graham et al. 2003; Hawaii Biological Survey, 2001; and Perry, 2005).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Brackish
Estuaries Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Marine
Marine Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Biology and Ecology

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Nutrition
Fluid enters the sub-umbrella space of Phyllorhiza punctata during the relaxation phase and flows over clusters of mouthlets near the base of the oral arm disk and in the centre of the fused oral arm cylinder. The pulsing contraction and relaxation phases of the bell transports prey to different capture surfaces within. Prey is ingested by small polyp-like mouthlets. Swimming activity, and the creation of fluid flows used for prey capture, is continuous, as is feeding, and is central to P. punctata's foraging behaviour (Ambra et al. 2001).

Reproduction
Basic cnidarian reproduction involves an asexually reproducing polyp stage, alternating with a sexually reproducing medusoid stage. This reproductive strategy is known as "alternation of generations". The scyphozoan reproductive cycle is typically dominated by the medusoid stage. The adult planktonic medusa is commonly referred to as a jellyfish. The planktonic planula larvae of the sexually reproducing medusa typically settles to the bottom where it attaches and grows (scyphistoma stage). It may then either directly form additional scyphistoma via a process of budding, and/or develop into a strobila, a benthic form which asexually produces and releases young medusa known as ephyrae. This alternation of generations may facilitate the transport of P. punctata by shipping through ballast water (planktonic planula, ephyrae or medusa) or fouling (benthic scyphistoma or strobila) (Hawaii Biological Survey, 2001).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Introduction pathways to new locations
Other: The coastal invasion was initially reported with biologists theorising that the jellyfish broke off the Loop Current that circulates through the Gulf and ended up in an eddy south of the Alabama and Florida panhandle. The Naval Research Laboratory at the Stennis Space Center confirmed this through satellite imagery (Martin, 2000).
Among invasive marine species, P. punctata has a relatively well-documented history of invading tropical and subtropical environments. Despite this, there is no direct evidence of translocation routes or the mechanisms by which translocation has occurred. The invasion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico has been theorised to represent an inevitable distributional shift of an invasive hub population in the Caribbean Sea facilitated by periodic oceanographic connections between the regions, or by the transportation of benthic scyphistomae on the hulls of ships (Bolton and Graham, 2004).
Ship ballast water:P. punctata are thought to be introduced as ship-fouling scyphistomae or as ephyrae in ballast water (Hawaii Biological Survey, 2001).
Ship/boat hull fouling: Bioinvasions of scyphozoans usually occur in the sessile polyp stage with ships or other seagoing infrastructure (e.g. towed oil or gas platforms) as vectors. Spread of P. punctata throughout the Pacific Ocean and between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea has been attributed to hull-fouling transport of polyps (Larson and Arneson 1990; Perry, 2005).

Local dispersal methods
Water currents: Transport of P. punctata from the Caribbean Sea to the northern Gulf of Mexico may be the result of natural ocean circulation processes. Similar transport of other Caribbean medusae has occurred via this method. Origin of the medusae that invaded northern Gulf of Mexico waters in the summer of 2000 was attributed to circulation processes associated with the Loop Current and its spin-off eddies by Johnson et al. (2004) (Perry, 2005).

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Ship ballast water and sediment Yes
Ship hull fouling Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture Negative

Impact

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Phyllorhiza punctata prefers warm temperate seas and is often abundantly aggregated in nearshore waters (Elkhorn Slough Foundation, undated). P. punctata is indigenous to the tropical western Pacific Ocean. It can often be found swimming near the surface in murky waters near estuaries in harbours and embayments. P. punctata has a wide distribution along Australian coastal and lagoon waters and range throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean including the Philippine archipelago (Graham et al. 2003; Hawaii Biological Survey, 2001; and Perry, 2005).

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
Impact mechanisms
  • Predation

Prevention and Control

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During the creation of this profile of Phyllorhiza punctata, no information about prevention, eradication, control, containment or mitigation was found.

Bibliography

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Ambra, I., J. H. Costello, F. Bentivegnal. 2001. Flow and prey capture by the scyphomedusa Phyllorhiza punctata Von Lendenfeld, 1884. Hydrobiologia 451: 223-227, 2001.

Bolton, T. F., and W. M. Graham. 2004. Morphological variation among populations of an invasive jellyfish. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 278:125-139. http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2004/278/m278p125.pdf

Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)., 2008. Decision support tools-Identifying potentially invasive non-native marine and freshwater species: fish, invertebrates, amphibians. http://www.cefas.co.uk/projects/risks-and-impacts-of-non-native-species/decision-support-tools.aspx

CONABIO. 2008. Sistema de información sobre especies invasoras en México. Especies invasoras - Otros invertebrados. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad. Fecha de acceso. http://www.conabio.gob.mx/invasoras/index.php/Especies_invasoras_-_Otros_invertebrados

Dauphin Island Sea Lab. UNDATED. Phyllorhiza punctata - ('spotted jellyfish'). Dock Watch. http://dockwatch.disl.org/haveyouseen.htm

DeFelice, R., Lu Eldredge and James Carlton., 2002 Hawaii Biological Survey, Bishop Museum Guidebook of Introduced Marine Species of Hawaii. Phyllorhiza punctata von Lendenfeld, 1884 Bishop Museum and University of Hawaii: http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/HBS/invertguide/species/phyllorhiza_punctata.htm

Elkhorn Slough Foundation. UNDATED. Spotted Jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata). Elkhorn Slough Research: Least Wanted Aquatic Invaders. http://www.elkhornslough.org/research/aquaticinvaders/aquatic5.htm

Graham, W. M., D. L. Martin, D. L. Felder, V. L. Asper, and H. M. Perry. 2003. Ecological and economic implications of a tropical jellyfish invader in the Gulf of Mexico . Biological Invasions, 5(1-2):53-69.

Graham, W. M., H. M. Perry, D. L. Felder. 2001. Ecological and Economic implications of the tropical jellyfish, Phylloriza punctata, in the Northern Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2000. In International Conference on Marine Bioinvasions, New Orleans, Louisiana. Louisiana Sea Grant. 59. http://massbay.mit.edu/publications/marinebioinvasions/mbi2_abstracts.pdf

Martin, J. D. 2000. Alien jellyfish invade Gulf of Mexico, pose problem. Feedstuffs 72(46):41.

Perry, H. 2005. Phyllorhiza punctata von Lendenfeld 1884. USGS NAS - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?SpeciesID=1192

Rippingale, R. J., and S. J. Kelly. 1995. Reproduction and Survival of Phyllorhiza punctata (Cnidaria : Rhizostomeae) in a Seasonally Fluctuating Salinity Regime in Western Australia. Mar. FreshwaterRes., 1995,46, 1145-51 http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=MF9951145.pdf

Contributors

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    Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

    Last Modified: Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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