A jellyfish’s stinging cell fires with the fastest motion in the animal kingdom.
When you drop a pen to the floor that’s 1 g. A Ferrari accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds. That’s 3 g. A jellyfish’s stinging cell fires with an acceleration of 5 million g. It takes just 700 nanoseconds for the stinger to hit its mark. Jellyfish and their cousins, corals and sea anemones, have about 30 different styles of stinging cells, adorned with all variety of barbs and spines.
Jellyfish can see.
If you look very closely at the edge of a jellyfish’s umbrella, you’ll see small organs called rhopalia. They contain the jellyfish’s sensory structures: not just light organs, but also a balance organ, a current sensor, and chemical receptors. Box jellyfish have four rhopalia, each with 6 eyes, making for a total of 24. Eight of those have a fully functional lens, a retina, and an iris that opens and closes like ours does when it gets brighter and darker.
Jellyfish aren’t just for sea turtles any more.
Sea turtles are well-known for eating jellyfish and leatherbacks live their whole lives on a strict jellyfish diet. The world’s largest bony fish, the massive mola mola or sun fish, also favors jellies. And recent research has discovered that lots of fish, including tuna and bream, eat their share of jellies too. New studies have found that even penguins and abbatrosses have a taste for geloatinous fare.
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