“Scary, squishy, cool, brainless, mesmerizing – jellyfish are all of these and a lot more,” writes Elizabeth Kolbert as she describes the amazing diversity and beauty of jellyfish in the Oct. 2018 issue of National Geographic. For anyone that has ever been entranced by the graceful, pulsating movement of jellyfish then this Nat. Geo article is not to be missed.

jellyfish- pickabay.com

 

World Jellyfish Day

Apparently, someone truly enamored with jellyfish even came up with World Jellyfish Day, celebrated annually on Nov. 3.

But before lifting the bubbly to celebrate World Jellyfish Day, let’s start with a few jellyfish facts. First, jellyfish are actually not fish. They have no bones. T,hey are invertebrates. Jellyfish not only lack bones they have no brains or central nervous system. T,hey use their tentacles to sting their prey, usually plankton.

Some jellyfish are tiny like the ¼” sea fur (Obelia sp.), ranging up to the Lion’s Mane (Cyanea capillata) that trails tentacles 120 feet in length. The enormous Nomura jellyfish can measure 6 feet across and weigh up to 450lbs.

 

A Swarm, Bloom or Smack

When jellyfish get together to do whatever jellyfish do, this congregation is called a swarm, a bloom, or a smack. So, the next time you encounter a “smack” of jellyfish be careful of the tentacles. That goes double for the sea wasp (Chironex fleckeri), a box jellyfish who’s 12-inch tentacles are highly venomous, capable of killing a human in under five minutes.


Any swimmer or diver that has been stung by a Portuguese Man O’ War (Physalia physalis) will long remember that painful encounter. And they may be forgiven for mistaking their attacker for a jellyfish. Although it looks like a jellyfish, the Man O’ War is not a true jellyfish; it’s a siphonophore, not that this lessens the sting in any way. Portuguese Man O’ War is known as Blue Bottle Jellyfish in Australia.

 

A Deadly Case of Misidentification

Humans are not the only ones that misidentify jellyfish. Many of their predators including tuna, sharks and turtles mistake plastic waste for jellyfish. As an article in OneGreenPlanet shows, this is not hard to do and is having disastrous repercussions for marine life.

Jellyfish make up almost the entire diet of some sea turtles, especially the leatherback. Now many of these majestic turtles are found dead, washed ashore, their stomachs bloated with plastic bags.

because turtles eat plastic bags shutterstock_1074166649-1 sea turtle jellyfish

One more very important reason for outlawing plastic bags, straws and other single-use plastic products before they can contaminate the ocean.

 

See these Related Blue Ocean Articles:

Australia’s Green Sea Turtles Impacted by Ocean Warming
Turtle Wars on the Riviera Maya; Sustainable Tourism, Part 4
World Sea Turtle Day: Turtles Face Environmental and Political Threats
Florida’s Sea Turtles are Overwhelmingly Female!
The Sea Turtle Rangers, Part 1
Protect Sea Turtles On World Turtle Day
Can the Great Barrier Reef Be Saved??
Save This Beach for Endangered Sea Turtles
Unlocking the Mysteries of Marine Migration: Sea Turtles, Whale Sharks and More

 

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