We Now Interrupt Your Normal Wonky Programming to Give You Random Facts About Jellyfish

All of the following come from the New York Review of Books, so, while I can’t vouch for their veracity, I trust the source. But anyway, believe these at your own risk (all emphasis is mine, in astonishment):

Northeast Pacific sea nettles Monterey Bay Aquarium

Be Afraid. Via

“Box jellyfish have bells (the disc-shaped “head”) around a foot across, behind which trail up to 550 feet of tentacles. It’s the tentacles that contain the stinging cells, and if just six yards of tentacle contact your skin, you have, on average, four minutes to live—though you might die in just two.”

“In November 2009 a net full of gigantic jellyfish, the largest of which weighed over 450 pounds, capsized a Japanese trawler, throwing the three-man crew into the ocean.”

“Japan’s nuclear power plants have been under attack by jellyfish since the 1960s, with up to 150 tons per day having to be removed from the cooling system of just one power plant.”

“By 2002 the total weight of Mnemiopsis in the Black Sea had grown so prodigiously that it was estimated to be ten times greater than the weight of all fish caught throughout the entire world in a year. The Black Sea had become effectively jellified. ”

“Jellyfish are very diverse. They range in size from a millimeter long to giants with bells over a meter across that can weigh almost half a ton.”

“Jellyfish reproduction is astonishing, and no small part of their evolutionary success: “Hermaphroditism. Cloning. External fertilization. Self fertilization. Courtship and copulation. Fission. Fusion. Cannibalism. You name it, jellyfish [are] ‘doing it.’””

“One of the fastest breeders of all is Mnemiopsis. Biologists characterize it as a “self-fertilizing simultaneous hermaphrodite,” which means that it doesn’t need a partner to reproduce, nor does it need to switch from one sex to the other, but can be both sexes at once. It begins laying eggs when just thirteen days old, and is soon laying 10,000 per day. Even cutting these prolific breeders into pieces doesn’t slow them down. If quartered, the bits will regenerate and resume normal life as whole adults in two to three days.

Mnemiopsis is able to eat over ten times its own body weight in food, and to double in size, each day.”

“One kind of jellyfish, which might be termed the zombie jelly, is quite literally immortal. When Turritopsis dohrnii “dies” it begins to disintegrate, which is pretty much what you expect from a corpse. But then something strange happens. A number of cells escape the rotting body. These cells somehow find each other, and reaggregate to form a polyp.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *