Jellyfish are really interesting creatures, and rather weird looking too.
Take a read and find out more about these fascinating creatures!
The word jellyfish is used commonly to describe animals that are made up of ‘jelly-like’ material. There are many different types of jellyfish, including stinging kinds called medusae and non-stinging kinds called comb jellies or ctenophores.
Now those are some words to try and wrap your head around! Another type of jelly animal called a salp is even in the same group as humans!
Now this is seriously cool, bet you didn’t know this, or maybe you’re super smart and do know! When large numbers of plants or animals appear suddenly, scientists call it a ‘bloom’. In some areas of the world, millions of jellyfish can swarm together, and these blooms can cause problems.
If you’ve been at the beach or on a boat at some point when it seemed like jellyfish were everywhere – then maybe you have even seen a jellyfish bloom.
Jellyfish are plankton. This comes from the Greek word planktos, meaning to wander or drift. They are not strong swimmers, so they get tossed and turned around in the ocean currents. Blooms often form where two currents meet and if there is an onshore breeze thousands of jellyfish can be beached. That would NOT be a cool beach to walk on!
Most jellyfish live less than one year, and some of the smallest may live for only a few days. Wow, that’s weird. Now here’s another killer fact for you. Did you know that some jellyfish are immortal, meaning that they never, ever die? Well it’s true, believe it or not.
There are two phases to jelly life – the stationary polyp stage and the mobile medusa phase. It’s the medusa phase that we normally refer to to when we talk about jellyfish. Typically, jellies start as polyps and develop into medusas, but the Turritopsis nutriculahas earned it the nickname “the immortal jellyfish” for having the ability to travel backward to the polyp stage in times of stress. Now that is unbelievable!
Some jellyfish have millions of tiny stinging cells in their tentacles called nematocysts. These cells are used to capture their prey by injecting poison into them. When we are stung it hurts because the toxin goes through our skin – ouch!
Jellyfish eat many different types of things, such as small plants, fish eggs and other small fish called larvae; they also eat the planktonic eggs and young stages (also called larvae) of many different kinds of 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!
Now here are some facts to blow your mind. Did you know that…