Invertebrates

Invertebrates are all species of animals without a backbone or spine, which includes arthropods (insects, crustaceans, etc.), mollusks (bivalves, snails, squid, and octopus, etc.), annelids (worms, etc.), and cnidarians (corals, anemones, jellyfish, etc.). The earliest fossils appear to be invertebrates which have been dated back to 665 million years ago. Invertebrates are the largest class of animals, comprising 97% of the animal kingdom with 1.25 million species discovered, but millions still to be discovered. A key to the large quantity of invertebrates is their ability to reproduce quickly and abundantly, with some species’ members producing both egg and sperm, and some species laying eggs that do not require fertilization. Invertebrates are comprised of a wide range of species, all the way from microscopic mites to the giant squid.

How do invertebrates protect their soft bodies?

Invertebrates can effectively protect their soft bodies through an outer hard casing that is referred to as the exoskeleton. Invertebrates like spiders, crustaceans, and insects have their exoskeletons made through sections of jointed legs. Others like mollusks like snails and clams have a hard shell in which they can hide when danger is present.

What is the difference between an invertebrate and a vertebrate?

The difference between an invertebrate and a vertebrate is that invertebrates have no backbones while vertebrates have a developed internal skeleton with cartilage and bones as well as a developed brain that is protected by a skull. Vertebrates also cannot make their food, while invertebrates make their food.

Why are invertebrates important?

Invertebrates are important because like bees they help with pollination, as well as help clear and clean up the environment. Invertebrates are also important because they are soil aerators and creators as they help grow food crops. They also provide eco-system balance and serve as food for other species within the food chain.

Invertebrates Guides
Browse through our curated Invertebrates Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Invertebrates. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.

Invertebrates

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2.36”-4.33” | 6-11 cm
5”-9.84” | 12.7-25 cm
17.7”-35” | 45-89 cm
6-18 months
Atlantic Sea Nettle
11.000
25.000
89.000
1.50
300
3D
Atlantic Sea Nettle
.79”-6.7” | 2-17 cm
.79”-6.7” | 2-17 cm
1.6”-13.8” | 4-35 cm
Atolla Jellyfish
17.000
17.000
35.000
1200
3D
Atolla Jellyfish
12.6”-47” | 32-119 cm
15.75”-59” | 40-150 cm
29”-108” | 74-274 cm
55-88 lb | 25-40 kg
2-6 months
Barrel Jellyfish
119.000
150.000
274.000
40.000
0.50
6400
3D
Barrel Jellyfish
5.91”-15.35” | 15-39 cm
9.45”-23.62” | 24-60 cm
15”-39” | 38-99 cm
15-31 lb | 6.8-14 kg
1 year
Black Sea Hare
39.000
60.000
99.000
14.000
1.00
5800
3D
Black Sea Hare
8.3”-18.9” | 21-48 cm
16”-36” | 40.6-91.4 cm
44”-104” | 112-264 cm
6-12 months
Black Sea Nettle Jellyfish
48.000
91.400
264.000
1.00
350
3D
Black Sea Nettle Jellyfish
.55”-.98” | 1.4-2.5 cm
.59”-1.18” | 1.5-3 cm
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
1-2 years
Black Slug
2.500
3.000
15.000
2.00
2900
3D
Black Slug
.59”-6.3” | 1.5-16 cm
.47”-3.94” | 1.2-10 cm
.59”-6.3” | 1.5-16 cm
Bloodybelly Comb Jellyfish
16.000
10.000
16.000
100
3D
Bloodybelly Comb Jellyfish
7.1”-13.8” | 18-35 cm
9.84”-17.72” | 25-45 cm
24.8”-44.9” | 63-114 cm
1 year
Blue Jellyfish
35.000
45.000
114.000
1.00
5800
3D
Blue Jellyfish
2.36”-3.15” | 6-8 cm
3.94”-4.53” | 10-11.5 cm
7.87”-9.84” | 20-25 cm
2-3 years
California Mussel
8.000
11.500
25.000
3.00
550
3D
California Mussel
5.5”-7.9” | 14-20 cm
7.1”-9.84” | 18-25 cm
7.5”-10.6” | 19-27 cm
.31-3 lb | .14-1.38 kg
3-6 months
Cannonball Jellyfish
20.000
25.000
27.000
1.380
0.50
12000
3D
Cannonball Jellyfish
.43”-1.06” | 1.1-2.7 cm
.43”-1.06” | 1.1-2.7 cm
.63”-1.5” | 1.6-3.8 cm
4-10 years
Common Periwinkle
2.700
2.700
3.800
10.00
3500
3D
Common Periwinkle
1.85”-2.56” | 4.7-6.5 cm
1.57”-2.36” | 4-6 cm
3.15”-4.33” | 8-11 cm
.11-.22 lb | .05-.1 kg
10-15 years
Common Whelk
6.500
6.000
11.000
0.100
15.00
2950
3D
Common Whelk
3.5”-6.3” | 9-16 cm
5.9”-10” | 15-25.4 cm
16.5”-27.2” | 42-69 cm
.44-5.3 lb | .2-2.4 kg
1 year
Compass Jellyfish
16.000
25.400
69.000
2.400
1.00
5600
3D
Compass Jellyfish
8.7”-19.7” | 22-50 cm
9.84”-23.62” | 25-60 cm
13”-30.7” | 33-78 cm
.04-.89 lb | .02-.4 kg
3-6 months
Crowned Jellyfish
50.000
60.000
78.000
0.400
0.50
5
3D
Crowned Jellyfish
.5”-5.9” | 1.2-15 cm
.8”-10” | 2-25.4 cm
1.2”-14.2” | 3-36 cm
2-6 months
Crystal Jellyfish
15.000
25.400
36.000
0.50
1500
3D
Crystal Jellyfish
.3”-.63” | .8-1.6 cm
.39”-.79” | 1-2 cm
.67”-1.34” | 1.7-3.4 cm
Darth Vader Jellyfish
1.600
2.000
3.400
40
3D
Darth Vader Jellyfish
9.5”-2.6” | 2.4-6.6 cm
1.77”-4.92” | 4.5-12.5 cm
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
10-20 years
Eastern Oyster
6.600
12.500
20.300
0.900
20.00
2000
3D
Eastern Oyster
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
4.72”-5.91” | 12-15 cm
8.3”-10.6” | 21-27 cm
4-6 months
Flower Hat Jelly
15.000
15.000
27.000
0.50
150
3D
Flower Hat Jelly
1.6”-8.7” | 4-22 cm
2.36”-11.8” | 6-30 cm
2”-10.2” | 5-26 cm
4-6 months
Fried Egg Jellyfish
22.000
30.000
26.000
0.50
2000
3D
Fried Egg Jellyfish
.98”-1.77” | 2.5-4.5 cm
.98”-1.57” | 2.5-4 cm
1.97”-3.54” | 5-9 cm
.015-.03 lb | .007-.015 kg
2-5 years
Garden Snail
4.500
4.000
9.000
0.015
5.00
7100
3D
Garden Snail
3.46”-5.12” | 8.8-13 cm
3.54”-4.72” | 9-12 cm
7.87”-11.81” | 20-30 cm (Overall)
.44-1 lb | .2-.45 kg
5-9 years
Giant African Snail
13.000
12.000
30.000
0.450
9.00
10800
3D
Giant African Snail
3’-5’6” | .91-1.68 m
33’-59’ | 10-18 m
440-2,000 lb | 200-907 kg
2-5 years
Giant Squid
168.000
1800.000
907.000
5.00
88000
3D
Giant Squid
3.15”-5.51” | 8-14 cm
3.15”-5.91” | 8-15 cm
5”-9” | 12.7-22.9 cm
.88-1.98 lb | .4-.9 kg
10-15 years
Knobbed Whelk
14.000
15.000
22.900
0.900
15.00
860
3D
Knobbed Whelk
.39”-.79” | 1-2 cm
.55”-1.02” | 1.4-2.6 cm
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
2-4 years
Leopard Slug
2.000
2.600
20.000
4.00
8200
3D
Leopard Slug
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
2.5”-16” | 6.4-40.6 cm
1.54-1.98 lb | .7-.9 kg
10-15 years
Lightning Whelk
21.000
21.000
40.600
0.900
15.00
1400
3D
Lightning Whelk
10.2”-41.3” | 26-105 cm
15.75”-78.75” | 40-200 cm
28.3”-143” | 72-362 cm
200-480 lb | 91-217 kg
1 year
Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
105.000
200.000
362.000
217.000
1.00
6900
3D
Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
.79”-2.75” | 2-7 cm
1.18”-3.94” | 3-10 cm
3.15”-11” | 8-28 cm
6-9 months
Mauve Stinger
7.000
10.000
28.000
0.75
2300
3D
Mauve Stinger
3.94”-9.1” | 10-23 cm
5.91”-13.78” | 15-35 cm
7.1”-16.5” | 18-42 cm
.01-.07 lb | .01-.03 kg
8-12 months
Moon Jellyfish
23.000
35.000
42.000
0.030
1.00
56000
3D
Moon Jellyfish
22”-27.2” | 56-69 cm
30”-36” | 76.2-91.4 cm
55”-67” | 140-170 cm
30-50 lb | 14-23 kg
Pink Meanie Jellyfish
69.000
91.400
170.000
23.000
1200
3D
Pink Meanie Jellyfish
2”-5.1” | 5-13 cm
4.72”-11.8” | 12-30 cm
8.7”-23.2” | 22-59 cm
1 year
Portuguese Man o' War
13.000
30.000
59.000
1.00
17000
3D
Portuguese Man o' War
4.33”-9.06” | 11-23 cm
5.12”-9.84” | 13-25 cm
6”-12” | 15.2-30.5 cm
3-5 lb | 1.36-2.27 kg
20-40 years
Queen Conch
23.000
25.000
30.500
2.270
40.00
4300
3D
Queen Conch
3.5”-5.1” | 9-13 cm
2.95”-3.94” | 7.5-10 cm
6.7”-9.1” | 17-23 cm
Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish
13.000
10.000
23.000
5
3D
Red Paper Lantern Jellyfish
1.57”-3.15” | 4-8 cm
3.94”-7.87” | 10-20 cm
5”-10” | 12.7-25.4 cm
1-2 lb | .45-.91 kg
30-40 years
White Abalone
8.000
20.000
25.400
0.910
40.00
790
3D
White Abalone
13.4”-14.2” | 34-36 cm
17.7”-19.7” | 45-50 cm
36.2”-41.7” | 92-106 cm
20-24 lb | 9-11 kg
1 year
White-Spotted Jellyfish
36.000
50.000
106.000
11.000
1.00
410
3D
White-Spotted Jellyfish
Lion’s Mane Jellyfish (Cyanea capillata)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish compared to other jellyfish and a person

The Lion’s Mane jellyfish, known scientifically as Cyanea capillata, is the largest known jellyfish, with the largest Lion’s Mane identified in 1870 with a 7 foot diameter bell and 120 foot long tentacles. The Lion’s Mane jellyfish primarily inhabits the cold waters of the Arctic, Atlantic, and northern Pacific oceans. However, the Lion’s Mane has also been found drifting in the Baltic Sea. Other species of large jellies, which may or may not actually be Lion’s Mane, have been spotted off the coast of Australia and New Zealand. The Lion’s Mane jelly is also known as the giant jellyfish or the hair jelly. The Lion’s Mane jelly uses its long tentacles to capture its prey of zooplankton, sea animals, and smaller jellyfish.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish have a bell width between 15.75”-78.75” (40-200 cm), bell height of 10.2”-41.3” (26-105 cm), and overall length of 28.3”-143” (72-362 cm). The typical lifespan of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish is 1 year with a weight between 200-480 lb (91-217 kg).

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish viewed from the front and side
The Lion’s Mane jellyfish, known scientifically as Cyanea capillata, is the largest known jellyfish, with the largest Lion’s Mane identified in 1870 with a 7 foot diameter bell and 120 foot long tentacles. The Lion’s Mane jelly is also known as the giant jellyfish or the hair jelly.

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish have a bell width between 15.75”-78.75” (40-200 cm), bell height of 10.2”-41.3” (26-105 cm), and overall length of 28.3”-143” (72-362 cm). The typical lifespan of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish is 1 year with a weight between 200-480 lb (91-217 kg).

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish viewed from the front and side
Lion’s Mane Jellyfish (Cyanea capillata)
Height:
10.2”-41.3” | 26-105 cm
Width:
15.75”-78.75” | 40-200 cm
Length:
28.3”-143” | 72-362 cm
Depth:
Weight:
200-480 lb | 91-217 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Cyanea capillata
Lifespan
1 year

Drawings include:

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish side elevation, front, top

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Cannonball Jellyfish (Stomolophus meleagris)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Cannonball Jellyfish compared to other jellyfish and a person

The Cannonball jellyfish, known scientifically as Stomolophus meleagris, is a medium sized jellyfish with a dome-shaped top that resembles a cannonball. The Cannonball jelly is also known as a cabbagehead jellyfish. The Cannonball jellyfish is most commonly found off the eastern coast of the United States and the Caribbean, but it can also be found in the Pacific. In the Pacific, the rim of the Cannonball jellyfish can be rimmed with blue, but elsewhere it is usually rimmed with brown. Although usually only a source of a mild sting for humans, there is a chance that the toxin the Cannonball carries in its nematocyst can cause cardiac issues.

Cannonball Jellyfish have a bell width between 7.1”-9.84” (18-25 cm), bell height of 5.5”-7.9” (14-20 cm), and overall length of 7.5”-10.6” (19-27 cm). The typical lifespan of the Cannonball Jellyfish is 3-6 months with a weight between .31-3 lb (.14-1.38 kg).

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Cannonball Jellyfish viewed from the front and side
The Cannonball jellyfish, known scientifically as Stomolophus meleagris, is a medium sized jellyfish with a dome-shaped top that resembles a cannonball. The Cannonball jelly is also known as a cabbagehead jellyfish. The Cannonball jellyfish is most commonly found off the eastern coast of the US.

Cannonball Jellyfish have a bell width between 7.1”-9.84” (18-25 cm), bell height of 5.5”-7.9” (14-20 cm), and overall length of 7.5”-10.6” (19-27 cm). The typical lifespan of the Cannonball Jellyfish is 3-6 months with a weight between .31-3 lb (.14-1.38 kg).

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Cannonball Jellyfish viewed from the front and side
Cannonball Jellyfish (Stomolophus meleagris)
Height:
5.5”-7.9” | 14-20 cm
Width:
7.1”-9.84” | 18-25 cm
Length:
7.5”-10.6” | 19-27 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.31-3 lb | .14-1.38 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Stomolophus meleagris
Lifespan
3-6 months

Drawings include:

Cannonball Jellyfish side elevation, front, top

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Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a Moon Jellyfish to a typical person and jellyfish

The Moon jellyfish, known scientifically as Aurelia aurita, is an almost entirely translucent jellyfish which features four, distinct, bioluminescent, horseshoe-shaped gonads in its top. The Moon jellyfish is very common in northern seas, such as near Greenland, Northwest Pacific, and the Baltic sea, but can also be found outside South America. Aurelia aurita is very similar in appearance to other species in the Aurelia genus, so to truly identify an Aurelia aurita requires genetic testing. The Moon jellyfish is not an advanced swimmer and always drifts with the current, even when attempting to manually propel itself, therefore it prefers seas with consistent and mild currents, usually found inshore.

Moon Jellyfish have a bell width between 5.91”-13.78” (15-35 cm), bell height of 3.94”-9.1” (10-23 cm), and overall length of 7.1”-16.5” (18-42 cm). The typical lifespan of the Moon Jellyfish is 8-12 months with a weight between .01-.07 lb (.01-.03 kg).

Scaled collection of drawings of Moon Jellyfish in front and side poses
The Moon jellyfish, known scientifically as Aurelia aurita, is an almost entirely translucent jellyfish which features four, distinct, bioluminescent, horseshoe-shaped gonads in its top. The Moon jellyfish is very common in northern seas, such as near Greenland, Northwest Pacific, and Baltic sea.

Moon Jellyfish have a bell width between 5.91”-13.78” (15-35 cm), bell height of 3.94”-9.1” (10-23 cm), and overall length of 7.1”-16.5” (18-42 cm). The typical lifespan of the Moon Jellyfish is 8-12 months with a weight between .01-.07 lb (.01-.03 kg).

Scaled collection of drawings of Moon Jellyfish in front and side poses
Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)
Height:
3.94”-9.1” | 10-23 cm
Width:
5.91”-13.78” | 15-35 cm
Length:
7.1”-16.5” | 18-42 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.01-.07 lb | .01-.03 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Aurelia aurita
Lifespan
8-12 months

Drawings include:

Moon Jellyfish side elevation, front, top

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Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur perversum)
Scale illustration of an average Lightning Whelk with compared to other gastropods

The Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur perversum) is an edible marine gastropod mollusk. They are found in the sandy substrate of shallow embayments of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and southeastern North America, from New Jersey south to Florida. As a large predatory sea snail, it mostly eats bivalves by using its proboscis to ingest the soft parts. They are active during the daytime, and when feeding on mudflats, they prefer to stay in deeper waters. Native Americans have used Lightning Whelks for food, and used their shells for tools, ornaments, and to make jewelry. The species is the state shell of Texas.

Lightning Whelks have a length between 2.5”-16” (6.4-40.6 cm), width from 1.57”-8.27” (4-21 cm), height of 1.57”-8.27” (4-21 cm), and weight in the range of 1.54-1.98 lb (.7-.9 kg). The typical lifespan of the Lightning Whelk is 10-15 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Lightning Whelk seen from the side, front, and top
The Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur perversum) is an edible marine gastropod mollusk. They are found in the sandy substrate of shallow embayments of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and southeastern North America, from New Jersey south to Florida.

Lightning Whelks have a length between 2.5”-16” (6.4-40.6 cm), width from 1.57”-8.27” (4-21 cm), height of 1.57”-8.27” (4-21 cm), and weight in the range of 1.54-1.98 lb (.7-.9 kg). The typical lifespan of the Lightning Whelk is 10-15 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Lightning Whelk seen from the side, front, and top
Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur perversum)
Height:
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
Width:
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
Length:
2.5”-16” | 6.4-40.6 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1.54-1.98 lb | .7-.9 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Sinistrofulgur perversum
Lifespan
10-15 years

Drawings include:

Lightning Whelk side elevation, front, top

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Crowned Jellyfish (Cephea cephea)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a Crowned Jellyfish to a typical person and jellyfish

The Crowned jellyfish, known as Cephea cephea, is a crown jellyfish usually found in the cold water up to 3,000 feet below the surface in the Indo-Pacific ocean. The Crowned jellyfish is purple and blue in color, bioluminescent, and has the distinctive bell shape of crown jellies. The Crown jellyfish also has warts that protrude off its body. The Crowned jellyfish is one of the most venomous jellyfish, yet not to humans; therefore, it is eaten as a delicacy and even used medically in certain Asian countries. The Crowned jellyfish, like most other jellies, has tentacles that can be used to stun and capture its prey.

Crowned Jellyfish have a bell width between 9.84”-23.62” (25-60 cm), bell height of 8.7”-19.7” (22-50 cm), and overall length of 13”-30.7” (33-78 cm). The typical lifespan of the Crowned Jellyfish is 3-6 months with a weight between .04-.89 lb (.02-.4 kg).

Scaled collection of drawings of Crowned Jellyfish in front and side poses
The Crowned jellyfish, known as Cephea cephea, is a crown jellyfish usually found in the cold water up to 3,000 feet below the surface in the Indo-Pacific ocean. The Crowned jellyfish is purple and blue in color, bioluminescent, and has the distinctive bell shape of crown jellies.

Crowned Jellyfish have a bell width between 9.84”-23.62” (25-60 cm), bell height of 8.7”-19.7” (22-50 cm), and overall length of 13”-30.7” (33-78 cm). The typical lifespan of the Crowned Jellyfish is 3-6 months with a weight between .04-.89 lb (.02-.4 kg).

Scaled collection of drawings of Crowned Jellyfish in front and side poses
Crowned Jellyfish (Cephea cephea)
Height:
8.7”-19.7” | 22-50 cm
Width:
9.84”-23.62” | 25-60 cm
Length:
13”-30.7” | 33-78 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.04-.89 lb | .02-.4 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Cephea cephea
Lifespan
3-6 months

Drawings include:

Crowned Jellyfish side elevation, front, top

Details & Downloads

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