You probably know this feeling, maybe you’re even worried that it won’t be avoided in the coming holidays.
It’s that feeling when you’re swimming without a care in the sea and feel something slimy with your foot. Ugh! Jellyfish! Touching one is really uncomfortable, although most jellyfish do not sting the skin and are not dangerous.
We do jellyfish an injustice. Their role in the ocean ecosystem is extremely important.
Jellyfish are extremely diverse. Scientists estimate that there are at least three hundred thousand species of jellyfish in the oceans that we do not yet know.
Many live very deep and many have the ability of bioluminescence. This means that in the pure darkness of the deep sea they can glow in different colours.
In jellyfish, scientists are also looking for an answer to the secret of immortality. The jellyfish with the Latin name Turritopsis dohrnii is the only known organism that can turn back time and transform from an adult animal into a polyp phase.
This is similar to if a butterfly could turn back into a caterpillar. The process of rejuvenation can take place indefinitely, so this species is virtually immortal.
For some animals, jellyfish offer shelter and security, for others they are food.
In fact, almost all life in the oceans depends on them, so do we.
Given the diverse ecosystem services they offer, they could also be called a floating forest of the oceans. This forest is home to a multitude of living creatures that would not be able to survive without jellyfish.
Do you know that in some places jellyfish are even food for humans?
Points to Consider
- Is there anything else in the water that reminds you of jellyfish?
- What is left when a jellyfish dries up?
- Have you been stung by one?
The original version of this article was published on June 26th.