The Sting of the Jellyfish | A Protector of the Sea

The jellyfish is a sea creature with a soft, oval and almost transparent body. No matter where you see a jellyfish or how harmless it may appear to look, it is wise never to actually touch one: whether it is alive or dead.

The tentacles of a jellyfish are armed with stinging cells. These tentacles are used to capture prey and to defend the jellyfish against predators. The stinging cells that are used by jellyfish to subdue their prey can leave humans with either an irritation or an injury in the event that we come into contact with them.

Thousands of swimmers are stung every year, with effects ranging from mild discomfort to serious injury and in rare cases, even death. The stingers of a jellyfish remain active even after the jellyfish is dead. Unlike the case with sharks, we humans are certainly not a food item for the jellyfish. Perhaps you could say that we are even a ‘by-catch’?

There are some 1,500 jellyfish species. A jellyfish is composed of approximately 95-98% water. It doesn’t have a brain, possesses no blood and has no heart. An elementary nervous system allows the jellyfish to smell, detect light and respond to other stimuli.

These animals possess a gelatinous consistency and have what scientists have described as a very unsophisticated anatomy. Nevertheless, as we know simplicity can be very effective.

Beachgoers are always warned not to swim during jellyfish season or in areas where jellyfish are abundant. In a way, then, the jellyfish is a protector of the ocean; keeping away unwanted predators.

Jellyfish are pelagic animals that live in the open seas; from tropical to Arctic waters. Although they can propel themselves with rhythmic motions of their umbrella, they are basically at the mercy of the currents of the sea. They go with the flow and are only ever where the ocean needs them.

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