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 (1628 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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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 =)

    http://img134.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=851806623_lie_onjelly2_122_99lo.jpg

  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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