Sea Creature of the Week!

Oct 10 2011

Immortal Jellyfish

Scientific Name:  Nutricula Turritopsis

Family: Oceanidae

Home: The Immortal Jellyfish originates from the Caribbean Sea, but it is now spreading across oceans as far as the arctic and has been found to tolerate fresh water.  During the polyp stage (infancy), it lives on the seafloor and attaches to a hard, stationary surface such as rock or coral. 

Physical Characteristics:The clear, umbrella- shaped body of the organism is 4.5 millimeters (0.18) inches and it is equal in width and height.  The jelly inside the bell is very thin and has a bright red stomach.  The adult jellyfish has 80 to 90 tentacles!

Food:During the polyp stage, they feed on microscopic plankton and zooplankton.  Like most other jellyfish at the adult stage, it feeds on anything it can get it’s tentacles on such as small fish, eggs, larvae and zooplankton. 

Fun Facts:  

-It is the only known creature that lives forever! It reverts back to its polyp stage after becoming sexually mature through a process known as transdifferentiation. Scientists have identified that this process is genetic, but as to what triggers the process remains a mystery.   

-Their immortality is causing a nuissance; they have few predators and are over populating. 

-Its tentacles carry neuro-toxins which are deadly to most fish. Fishing industries worry that Nutricula Turritopsis will overpopulate and threaten the abundance of fish populations due to its poisonous tentacles. 

-Unless killed by a predator, or over come by disease, the Immortal Jellyfish continues to live its life over and over again. 

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