Ever noticed something glimmering away when you were at the beach? Of course, you would have thought the tides washed away something shiny from the ocean’s heart. You were right in a way, yes. But ever wondered that the glimmering and shiny object in perspective could be a jellyfish? Ever heard about the jellyfish? Oh well, you might have heard the famous music band ‘Jellyfish’ in the late 80’s. But if you haven’t heard about the ocean’s beautiful creature called the jellyfish, then you ought to read on till the very end. Let’s start off with the generic facts, and end with some astonishing facts, shall we?
10. Basic Facts:
The average jellyfish lifespan ranges from a few hours to many months. Some species have lived up to 30 years too. Going with these lifespan numbers, the jellyfish have been in existence since the last 700 years which is an absolutely remarkable fact. The fragility of the jellyfish allows humans to capture it in its premature states so that they can be examined in labs for further studies. Jellyfish under scientific evaluation are preserved in labs, where they are kept in aquariums that interestingly boost their growth. Jellyfish take in water in their bell and squeeze it out from behind to propel themselves ahead. On most occasions, they use the water drift currents for movement.
9. The Jellyfish:
The jellyfish is found in the ocean. Belonging to the Animalia kingdom, it’s both a surface and a deep-water creature. They lack bones, cartilage, blood, heart and brain, and are made up of 95% water. The jellyfish has got class, no doubt. Yes, this sea-water creature belongs to classes like Cubozoa, Hydrozoa, Polypodiozoa, Staurozoa and Scyphozoa, names you probably have never heard of. The jellyfish was thus called by humans ever since 1786 because of its very jelly-like appearance. This breed of creatures are great ancestors, evolving over 650 million years ago. They existed then, and they exist vastly even now, which is one astonishing fact about the jellyfish. Scientists have gone on to even state that the fact that the jellyfish still exist over 650 million years of evolution is quite remarkable given the fossil history of the earth. The jellyfish have communities amongst themselves, and humans call a group of jellyfish as a broom.
8. Amazing Existence:
So, the jellyfish existed even before the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs came, saw, conquered and have become extinct, but the jellyfish community continues to live on. As you read above, scientists found this remarkable ability to exist for so long absolutely astonishing. Through research, amazing facts of the jellyfish have evolved. This one will stump you: A single jellyfish can release over 45,000 eggs in a SINGLE day! A single jellyfish lays millions of eggs in its lifespan! No wonder they have such a strong existence on earth!
7. The evil one:
Jellyfish have also proven to be deadly for the human race. Yes, a certain group of jellyfish are dangerous. Sea Wasp, sort of a box jellyfish, is the most feared jellyfish in the ocean. This Sea Wasp is said to kill two deep ocean divers on an average every year. It consists of venom that causes extreme pain that is harmful to the nerve, muscle and heart tissue. This venom is released through the tentacles of this jellyfish, and if stung, one can die within minutes. The box jellyfish has the ability to sting a human and stop his heartbeat, thus endangering him. The uncoiling of its tentacles to sting is more often faster than a bullet gunshot! The Sea Wasp is that fast! The Sea Wasp is mostly found in popular tourist spots in Australia. Many beaches in Australia remain closed for lengthy periods of time due to the presence of the box jellyfish.
6. The Biggest Jellyfish:
The biggest jellyfish was soon discovered and was called as the Lions Mane. The diameter of its body was about 2.3 meters its tentacles were 36.5 meters in length. The buzz is that the lengths of its tentacles are as long as the length of a football field! It was in Massachusetts, 1870 that it was found washed away on the shores that helped the human race study more about it. The lion’s mane jellyfish use their stinging tentacles to hunt. However, there is one variable that works against them, and that is some sea creatures capture these long lion mane tentacles and tangle them, thus ruining these tentacles. Interestingly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appears in a short story called ‘The Adventures of the Lion’s Mane’ in the Sherlock Holmes series. Along with the Lion’s Mane, the Normura Jellyfish and the Stygiomedusa Gigantia are considered the largest jellyfishes in the world. Quite strangely, the Stygiomedusa Gigantia has been seen only 17 times in the last 110 years. On the other hand, the Normura Jellyfish weighs 450 pounds.
5. Jellyfish Reproduction:
During reproduction, the male and female jellyfish come together. They have the sperm and egg developing in their reproduction organs called gonads. The eggs and sperms are released through the mouths when they are fully developed respectively. Very often, the male jellyfish releases the sperm into the water, which then swims towards the female jellyfish. The sperm enters through the mouth of the jellyfish and fuses with the female ova. The egg, once developed, is then released into the water. Jellyfish also have the capability to reproduce asexually, using their body parts to breed new species.
4. Jellyfish Food:
Jellyfish feed on different things, such as small plants, copepods, fish eggs, planktonic eggs and other small fish called larvae. They also feed on undeveloped larvae of several marine animals. Some jellyfish even eat other jellyfish! When jellyfish form blooms they eat almost everything in the water and this can cause problems for fisheries because there is no food left for the fish to eat! The jellyfish eat and secrete through the same hole through the middle.
3. The Jellyfish Physique:
The body structures of many jellyfishes have interested the human race to quite a large extent. The jellyfish is without a brain, ear and head. It also is devoid of ears, feet, legs or bones. They respire through their skin thanks to it being so thin. The jellyfish detect light, chemicals in water thanks to a nervous system that is present within them. This fills in the function of a brain with detectors and receptors at various places in their bodies. The jellyfish use their nervous system and gravity sense to guide themselves through the water. The jellyfish are completely devoid of a skeletal structure and water makes up 95% of their body mass. Quite interestingly, the tentacles of the jellyfish are regarded as the most dangerous part of the jellyfish structure. It is said that a tentacle separated from the jellyfish still has the ability to sting!
2. Jellyfish and humans:
In some parts of the world, the jellyfish forms an interesting part of delicacies. People in Malaysia call jellyfish dishes as ‘Music to the teeth’. Canonball jellyfish is the frequently eaten jellyfish all over the sub-continent. Jellyfish has been used in Hollywood as well! In the 2008 movie Seven Pounds, Will Smith plays the role of an IRS agent who commits suicide by sharing his bathtub with a deadly jellyfish. On the darker side, an American tourist died in 2002 after he was stung by the dangerous Irukandji jellyfish off the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Astonishingly, the jellyfish was only the size of a thumbnail but had three-feet-long tentacles.
1. Jellyfish Dead Zones:
Scientists have begun fearing a massive jellyfish invasion that is leading to more and deader ocean zones as a result of pollution, climate change and overfishing. These zones provide the best breeding places for jellyfish due to the suitable water temperature and presence of gases like nitrogen and phosphorous. The more the jellyfishes grow, the more the number of dead ocean zones grows. It is said that the jellyfish consumes so much food and give out so little, that their very growth will lead to more and more dead zones across oceans worldwide. They are said to hamper the food chain, making it easier for the existence of jellyfish and bacteria only. The jellyfish remove more food energy than they put into the ocean, thus creating a very hostile oceanic environment for other sea animals to live. The jellyfish consume the most valuable food source in the ocean which is the plankton, made up of microscopic plants and animals and in return they release a sugary goo that only bacteria can consume. These environmental issues cause the increase in jellyfish swarms, making them adaptive to ocean dead zones where little oxygen and lots of pollution is found. There are over 400 marine dead zones in the world.
So there you go. You know exactly what a jellyfish is when you spot one. Visiting a beach anytime soon? Watch out for a shiny creature, glimmering away for your attention.