Some Interesting Facts about the Medusa Jellyfish
The medusa jellyfish is the final, adult jellyfish and the most well known and recognizable one of the species. In the marine world, jellyfish are one of the most beautiful creatures with all of their peculiar colors and designs they have a whimsical look to them. As simple as they look under water, they have a very complex lifecycle. There are four cycles in a jellyfish life being planula, polyp, ephyra and medusa.
The medusa jellyfish is known as the fully developed, bell shaped creature with thick arms that hang alongside its mouth and has tentacles all over the margins of its body. It has a stomach and gut in a very small stomach cavity on the underneath part of the bell. The inner layer of the medusa jellyfish is formed with a mesogea gelatin substance. The gonads are developed during this stage of life and are visual through their translucent bodies.
The jellyfish prior to this period in its life, started out as a very tiny embryo. The embryo transforms into what is called a swimming planulae and remains at this stage for a few days where it floats to the surface and rides the current of the water for awhile. After it floats for a bit, it finally sinks in the water and then enters the polyp stage. During this part of the jellyfish’s life it sticks itself to a hard surface and several of them use feeding tubes among them to ensure they’re all receiving equal nutrients. This stage can last for many years and the colony has the ability to grow quite large. The polyps start eventually developing horizontal grooves. As the groove matures they are set free, leave the colony and turn into a medusa jellyfish. They only have the ability to reproduce once when they reach this stage in their life.
Medusa jellyfish were first discovered about 650 million years ago. They are found in every ocean and can even survive in fresh water. A group of jellyfish is called a swarm and sometimes a bloom and can be extremely intimidating of course dangerous to encounter. They do not have a respiratory system because their skin is so thin that their bodies are actually oxygenated by diffusion. They don’t have brains but instead function by using a network of nerves. The medusa jellyfish is made up of over 90% water and not only can they be fascinating patterns and vibrant color, they can also much larger than most people realize.
The box jellyfish has venom that makes it the absolute most deadly creature in the entire animal kingdom. Since 1954 almost 6,000 deaths have been recorded due to contact with them. The tentacles have harpoon style needles that are used to inject venom.
The largest medusa jellyfish is the lion’s mane. It is one of the longest animals with the bell having a diameter of almost 8 feet and the tentacles can reach 120 feet.
Medusa jellyfish are labeled as being carnivores. They are essentially drifters that feed off of small fish or traces of dead animals floating in the water. They also consume traces of zooplankton that becomes caught in their tentacles. There are over 200 species of jellyfish and each one is more mysterious looking than the last. If you are ever stung by a jellyfish it is imperative that you remove the tentacles immediately. The venom can only reach your skin through the needles. The stings from a medusa jellyfish can cause you to collapse or go into shock and often are the cause of death.