It’s a common joke in our home that some day I will write a story about jellyfish taking over the world. Why? Because jellies are scary. Here’s my top five reasons they make the hair on the back of my neck dance:
One – They are Everywhere
Jellyfish drift along currents in every ocean in the world. They can be found in deep water, shallow water and along beaches. They have been on earth since before the time of the dinosaurs. 500 to 700 million years!
Two – They Have no Brains
Seriously – no brains.
How do they even function? They have neurons that send messages throughout their system. Is this a different kind of brain? Mmm, it’s different from how we function, that’s for sure. My writer’s mind loves this stuff.
“Instead of a single, centralized brain, jellyfish possess a net of nerves. This “ring” nervous system is where their neurons are concentrated—a processing station for sensory and motor activity.” (How are Jellyfish Able to Live Without a Brain)
Three- They Know Where They are Going
Yes, Jellies are able to navigate their direction.
“In fact, box jellyfish even have advanced eyes similar to humans. Their complicated eyes allow them to see more favorable habitats that they can swim towards, according to the Current Biology study.
“These behaviors require not only accurate vision but also precise control of speed and direction of swimming,” writes the researchers.
Some box jellyfish are so advanced that they even engage in mating rituals, in which a male grabs a female by her tentacles to deposit spermatophores on her.
“The box jellyfish solution may thus be linked to the absence of a central brain, but it defeats the idea that a central brain is a prerequisite for advanced behavior,” writes the researchers.” (Ibid.)
Four – Jellies Have no Bones, Poisonous Tentacles and They Light Up
Jellies are 98% water. They are not actually fish. They are a type of plankton distantly related to sea anemones and have only one opening in their bodies through which they eat, procreate and release waste material. They use their tentacles to grab food and also to protect themselves. The tentacles carry poison. Many of them light up in the dark.
Five – They Move In
In the fall a red variety of jellyfish move into the small bay where I like to swim on my favourite Gulf Island off the west coast of Canada. If you touch one, their poison stings but doesn’t kill you. Swimming between or around them is impossible. With seemingly little effort, they displace us every fall.
So what do you think? Should I write a story about the invasion on the Jellies?