Jellyfish Printables

What Is a Jellyfish?
William Rhamey - Azur Diving / Getty Images
of 10

What Is a Jellyfish?

What Is a Jellyfish?
William Rhamey - Azur Diving / Getty Images

What Is a Jellyfish?

A jellyfish isn't actually a fish at all. It's an invertebrate, meaning that it is a living organism without a backbone. Jellyfish are plankton made up of a gelatinous, jelly-like substance. They are mostly water and don't have a brain, a heart, or bones.

Jellyfish range in size from the tiny Irukandji jellyfish, which is only about one cubic centimeter in size but also one of the world's deadliest jellyfish, to the enormous lion's mane jellyfish, which can grow up to 7 feet in diameter with tentacles up to 190 feet long!

Jellyfish defend themselves and catch their prey using their tentacles to sting. The tentacles have special cells called cnidocytes. These cells contain nematocysts, which are venom-filled structures that sting their prey. 

A jellyfish sting is painful and some are even deadly! You don't have to be "attacked" by a jellyfish to get stung. Simply brushing their tentacles while in the water (even a tentacle that has broken off a jellyfish) or touching those washed up on the beach can cause a sting. 

Jellyfish move mostly with the ocean's current, but they can control their vertical movement by opening and closing their bell-shaped bodies. They can propel themselves by squirting water from their mouths. The mouth is also used for eating and expelling waste!

Jellyfish eat algae, small plants in the water, shrimp, fish eggs, and even other jellyfish. Sea turtles eat jellyfish. That's one reason we must take care that plastic bags don't make their way into our oceans. They look like a tasty jellyfish to an unsuspecting sea turtle who can die trying to consume the plastic bag.

Fun Facts About Jellyfish

  • People also eat jellyfish, which are considered a delicacy in some countries.
  • A group of jellyfish is called a smack.
  • Some jellyfish are clear, but others have vibrant colors such as pink and purple. Some even glow in the dark!
  • Jellyfish can regenerate. If a jellyfish is injured or cut in two, it can create two new organisms.
  • Although they don't have a brain, jellyfish do have a rudimentary nervous system that can detect environmental changes.


of 10

Jellyfish Vocabulary

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Vocabulary Sheet

Introduce your students to the fascinating jellyfish. Print this vocabulary worksheet. Using a dictionary or the internet, students will look up each word in the word bank. Then, they will write each word on the blank line next to its correct definition.


of 10

Jellyfish Wordsearch

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Word Search 

Review jellyfish related words with your students using this fun word search puzzle. Each term from the word bank can be found among the jumbled letters in the puzzle. If students have trouble remembering a word's definition, they can refer back to the vocabulary worksheet.

of 10

Jellyfish Crossword Puzzle

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Crossword Puzzle

See how well your students remember these terms related to jellyfish. Each clue defines a term from the word bank. Complete the puzzle by filling each block with the letters for the correct terms. 


of 10

Jellyfish Challenge

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Challenge

Challenge your students to show what they know about jellyfish. They must choose the correct term for each definition from among the four multiple choice options.


of 10

Jellyfish Alphabetizing Activity

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Alphabet Activity

Young students can practice their alphabetizing skills while reviewing jellyfish terminology using this alphabet activity. Students will write each word from the word bank in correct alphabetical order on the blank lines provided.


of 10

Jellyfish Reading Comprehension

 Print the pdf: Jellyfish Reading Comprehension Page

In this activity, your children can practice their reading comprehension skills. Students will read the paragraph featuring facts about jellyfish. Then, answer the questions based on what they read.

of 10

Jellyfish Theme Paper

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Theme Paper

Instruct students to write a story, poem, or essay about jellyfish. Then, allow them to neatly write their final draft on the jellyfish theme paper.

of 10

Jellyfish Coloring Page

Print the pdf: Jellyfish Coloring Page

Students can color the jellyfish page to add to a report about these fascinating creatures or as a quiet activity while you read aloud about jellyfish.


of 10

Jellyfish Coloring Page - How many oral arms?

Print the pdf: Jellyfish coloring Page - How many oral arms?

Use this coloring page to discuss what oral arms are when learning about jellyfish.



Updated by Kris Bales

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Hernandez, Beverly. "Jellyfish Printables." ThoughtCo, May. 24, 2017, Hernandez, Beverly. (2017, May 24). Jellyfish Printables. Retrieved from Hernandez, Beverly. "Jellyfish Printables." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2018).