« Archives in March, 2011

New jellyfish species from the deep sea..

 

This new species was named “Granrojo” which is the Spanish word for “big red”. This jellyfish is blood red in color and silently floats through the murky waters of the deep sea devouring its prey as a predator.

One very peculiar feature of this jellyfish is that it lacks any tentacles. The jellyfish has a giant red bell-shaped body which has four “arms” rather than tentacles as you would find on the majority of jellyfish.

This animal isn’t a rarity either with many sightings reported off of the coast of  California, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon.

It has been very hard to research this jelly because they shy away from activity with humans and deep sea ROV equipment as they instantly disappear sensing a possible threat.

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The Cannonball jellyfish

 

The Cannonball Jellyfish is a member of the Stomolophidae jellyfish species family and gets its name from the cannonball style shape and size of its body. The Cannonball can sometimes be colored with a brown or red tinge with the body of the jellyfish itself usually being a milky brown or yellow color.

Cannonball jellyfish are rather prominent in shallow, inshore waters on the south east American coast in the summer and fall months.  Humans are relatively safe when it comes to being stung by cannonball jellyfish as they do not usually sting people but if a human is stung by the Cannonball, the toxin may still cause heart complications with the same result as another species of jellyfish.

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Turritopsis nutricula..the Immortal Jellyfish…

 

The Immortal jellyfish is one of the most unique animals not just within the species of jellyfish, but within the entire history of the animal kingdom. It has actually managed to accomplish the one feat that has been yearned by many and accomplished by none.

How does the immortal jellyfish accomplish this feat? It is through cell development process of transdifferentiation. What this means is that it can alter the differentiated state of the cell and transform it into a new cell. In this process of transdifferentiation, the medusa of the immortal jellyfish is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony. First, the umbrella reverts itself and then the tentacles and mesoglea get resorbed. The reverted medusa then attaches itself to the substrate by the end that had been at the opposite end of the umbrella and starts giving rise to new polyps to form the new colony. Theoretically, this process can go on infinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish immortal.

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The largest jellyfish…Lion's Mane

The largest known species of jellyfish is the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish (Cyanea capillata). It prefers cold waters of the ocean and is mainly found in the boreal waters of the Arctic, northern Pacific oceans and northern Atlantic. The Lion’s Mane found in the Arctic is one of the longest known animals and the largest recorded specimen is 120 feet in length and the bell body has a diameter of 7 feet and 6 inches. This was found washed ashore in Massachusetts Bay in 1870.
The Lion’s Mane is a common species of jellyfish and packs quite a sting. These stings are seldom fatal, but are toxic and can cause severe pain and burns. Only one person has been reported to have been killed by this type of jellyfish, but still this species is considered potentially dangerous. The bell body of this jellyfish is capable of attaining a diameter of 8 feet, but this species comes in varying sizes. The ones in the northern counterpart are much bigger in size then the ones found further south. The southern ones have only up to a bell diameter of 20 inches. The Lion’s Mane found in the northern oceans have tentacles which trail as long as 100 feet in length. The tentacles of this jellyfish is extremely sticky and come grouped in eight clusters. Every cluster has 65 to 150 tentacles, in a series of rows. The bell body has an appearance of an eight-pointed star, as it is divided into eight lobes.

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The Blue Blubber jellyfish…

 

Blue Jelly (Catostylus mosaicus) is a species of jellyfish in the Rhizostomeae order. It is characterized by a lack of tentacles at the margin of the jellyfish’s body. Instead, it has about 8 oral arms. These oral arms become fused with the body of the jellyfish near the centre of its body. What is fascinating about the oral arms of the blue blubber is that they have minute mouths at the end of the oral arms that themselves transport food to the stomach!  Also, the oral arms of the blue blubber have a certain three-pronged shape that makes them easy to identify.

The blue blubber uses its oral arms to capture its food. Its oral arms are lined with numerous nematocysts that contain venomous stings. When blue blubbers come in contact with a prey, they inject their venom into the prey in order to kill or paralyze it. Once the prey is immobilized, the blue blubber eats it with its tiny mouths. The blue blubber uses the same mechanism to defend itself from predatory animals. In the case of humans, the toxins in the venom of blue blubbers does not cause any harm. Very sensitive individuals may develop an itchy rash or have an allergic reaction.

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Marine Biologist Chad Widmer..PhD student Edinburgh Scotland

 

For those of you that have read our StingMate postings, at the end of each post where we note source references, you have seen data from our friend and technical and scientific associate, Chad Widmer..PhD student, University of St. Andrews, Edinburgh Scotland, Northernmost Fulbrighter..Chad was most recently the Head Aquarist for the world class jellyfsh exhibit at Monterey Bay Sea Aquarium before pursuing his PhD. in Scotland…
The picture is of Chad which, in it’s context, defines Chad..Although an Internationally known marine biologist on all matters jellyfish and published author on the subject, Chad is one hell of a laid back, great guy.  Huge Harley enthusiasts, surfer extraordinaire and a tank commander in the military.  As he put it, “fun way to blow stuff up”..Chad is currently at Edinburgh soon to begin jelly research in the North Sea while completing his Doctoral work…We will share with you what Chad can share with us during the course of his study….Stayed tuned!!

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