Jellyfish

Have you wondered if a jellyfish is a fish? You know the slimy blobs you see on the beach?  When you start learning some jellyfish facts, you realize they are really cool creatures. So let’s dive in (and yes, pun intended!)

So what is a jellyfish, anyway? Well, I’m not really sure as they have no brains, no heart and no blood. Plus no bones. They are 95% water. Wow, this gets really weird.

 

jellyfish facts

Jellyfish are over 95% water.

jellyfish facts

Jellyfish have no brains, heart or blood.

Is A Jellyfish An Animal?

Webster’s dictionary says a jellyfish is “A free-swimming marine coelenterate that is the sexually reproducing form of a hydrozoan or scyphozoan”. Ok, I have no idea what that means.

So is a jellyfish an animal or plant? Hmm, they are actually a carnivorous animal with no backbone. And it is not a fish.

They have lived in the oceans for millions of years, long before dinosaurs, drifting along in the ocean currents. 

 

Do All Jellyfish Sting?

If you have ever been stung by a jellyfish, you know how much it hurts. In some cases, the venom can kill you.

But not all jellyfish sting. And some things that look like jellyfish, sting but aren’t jellyfish. For example, a Portuguese Man-o-War (which we found on the beach all the time growing up) is not a jellyfish but packs a mean sting.

Wow, this gets complicated. But fascinating!

jellyfish facts

A Portuguese Man of War is not a jellyfish! Photo: Matthew Beziat/Flicker

Why Are Jellyfish Important?

If you love sea turtles, jellyfish are one of their favorite foods. Many oceanic animals eat them so they are a great source of food for animals higher up on the food chain.

Some people consider them a delicacy to eat but we would not be in that camp! Ugh.

Another interesting jellyfish fact is the way they protect small fish. Think about their tenacles. A great place to hide from the bigger fish.

Fortunately, jellyfish have adapted to changing climate, pollution and human activities. They are actually one of the few animals thriving in today’s conditions. 

jellyfish facts

Small fish often hide in a jellyfish’s tentacles. Photo:Joel Filipe

sea turtles

Help scientists by reporting your sightings of jellyfish. Photo: Ganapathy Kumar

Resources

Jellywatch. Become a citizen scientist by reporting your sightings of jellyfish. You will be helping scientists study these fascinating creatures.

12 astonishing facts about jellyfish by Mother Nature Network. Learn why some jellyfish are immortal and which one is the most toxic (enough venom to kill 80 people).

How Do Jellyfish Eat? by AnimalHow. Did you know jellyfish poop and eat from the same opening?  

Jellyfish 101 a video by National Geographic. A cool 4-minute video with beautiful footage.

 

 

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