An EXPLOSIVE Touch

"The military, especially along with the help from Special Operations Navy Divers are becoming increasingly curious as to the mystery of these unique jellyfish"

Nat Geo WILD

AQUAVIEWS

Stinging cells that act like a grenade separate this type of jellyfish from anything else you have ever seen, “The stealthiest stinging strategy belongs to Cassiopea xamachana, a species of upside-down jellyfish found in the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and warm parts of the Western Atlantic like the Florida Keys. When disturbed, this creature acts like a space-movie mother ship — it emits tiny balls of stinging cells that then swim around on their own, zapping anything in their path,” (Giaimo, 2020). These jellyfish rely heavily on their defense mechanism combined with thousands of projectile cells filled with electricity. Ph.D. students are working with various companies to continue their groundbreaking research into this phenomenon, “The U.S. Navy has long been curious about difficult-to-source jellyfish stings, said Gary Vora, the deputy laboratory head within the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and another author of the paper. Navy divers will sometimes get in what looks like clear water, and end up “lit up like a Christmas tree,” he said,” (Giaimo, 2020). The military, especially along with the help from Special Operations Navy Divers are becoming increasingly curious as to the mystery of these unique jellyfish. Anything from the size of a brine shrimp to the size of a human will be shocked with a very serious sting from all directions. Even though this is used as a defense mechanism these jellyfish are also using it to stun their prey and eat it, “Cassiosomes are formed in small pads on the upside-down jellyfish’s arms. Hundreds of thousands of them, at least, are released at a time. They can sting a brine shrimp to death on contact — leaving it in the mucus for the jellyfish to suck back up,” (Giaimo, 2020). If this evolutionary adaptation has occurred in one species of jellyfish, then imagine the possibilities of other adaptations, “The researchers also discovered similar cassiosomes in four related jellyfish species. If this turns out to be a popular strategy, that might explain other mysteries,” (Giaimo, 2020). Life in the ocean is no joke, which leads me to think. What are some other mysteries lurking below the surface?