Otherwise known as ...
Here is another fascinating creature. Did you know that the jellyfish is one of the oldest living creatures in the world? There are more than 200 species of jellyfish and they live in all the oceans, at different temperatures and depths and even in fresh water.
A jellyfish mouth is underneath their bell-shaped body and they catch their food with their long tentacles which have thousands of venom filled nematocysts on them and are mainly used to sting the prey and paralyze it. These tentacles are also useful to sting a likely predator and protect the jellyfish. So, stay clear if you see them floating by! Yes, they will consider you a predator!
What do they eat, you ask? Depending on the species and their size they may eat small fish, zooplankton and the eggs and larvae of other sea creatures. Larger versions (the largest known jellyfish had a bell that measured seven feet in diameter-Scary!) eat crustaceans and sometimes other jellyfish. :(
Their bells have an outer layer called the epidermis and the nerve receptors in the epidermis detect odor, light, pressure and other stimuli. They pump water in and out of the bell to enable themselves to move up and down but depend on the waves and the wind to move them horizontally.
One of the things I find most fascinating about the jellyfish is they have no brains or skeletons. You heard me. No brains. I know, there is definitely a joke there somewhere. Who said God doesn’t have a sense of humor? And a certain sense of whimsy, too, I think. :)
The final stage of growth for the jellyfish is called medusa, because of their similarity to the Greek Gorgon, Medusa who had snakes for hair and would turn you to stone if you looked at her eyes. Fortunately, the jellyfish are far more beautiful than Medusa.
The photos below are only a very small sampling of this gorgeous and rather fantastic creation.
Susan J Donetti
Lives in Northern California with her husband, two dogs, three cats and one horse.