Jellyfish have organelles called nematocysts, which work like hypodermic needles when engaged, breaking through the tentacle and ejecting venom. For the first time, this process has been captured on film under a microscope (using an anemone, which are related to jellyfish) at James Cook University.
Charlie Harry Francis and his company, Lick Me I’m Delicious, have succeeded in finding the sweet tooth’s response to the $300,000 test tube burger: A glow-in-the-dark ice cream synthesized from a jellyfish protein that causes luminescence when it reacts with calcium.
But why so expensive? Couldn’t anything drifting past northern Japan give off this luminescent green hue? According to Francis, “Jellyfish luminescence is four times pricier than gold so each scoop costs me around £140.”
The Australian box jellyfish contains one of the world’s deadliest known venoms.
After being stung by a box jellyfish in Hawaii, Dr. Angel Yanagihara (University of Hawaii at Manoa) set out to discover a new remedy. Testing on both mice and humans (including herself, she admits), Dr. Yanagihara found that zinc can prevent the venoms of both Hawaiian box jellies and the deadlier Australian box jellies from creating pores in human red blood cells, which results in the leaking of precious potassium.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explained what this mystery ocean ghost like creature was in this popular undersea video. It’s a jelly called the scyphomedusa Deepstaria, which was named after the deep star sub that discovered it in 1966. Watch the first video, and then the second and if you want more, read more proof by the scientists of Deep Sea News.
Those are box jellyfish stings that Diana Nyad, ultra marathon swimmer, sustained 90 miles into an attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. Elizabeth Weil has an amazing profile in the NYTimes about ultra distance swimmer Diana Nyad. Soon after the lede has a fascinating lead. She counts her time in the ocean by singing Bob Dylan’s “It ain’t me, babe”, the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” and other songs from a mental playlist of 65 tunes.
“When I complete 2,000 ‘It Ain’t Me, Babe’s, Bob Dylan version, I know I’ve gone 4 hours and 45 minutes exactly,” Nyad says. “I never lose track.”
The story has too many wonderful details in it to be missed, spanning Diana’s childhood mentors and villains, her Muhammad Ali like bravado that she displayed to the world in her 20s, and detailing the extreme sacrifice, physical and emotional, that she and her loved ones go through in her quest to swim from Cuba.
For at least 500 million years, jellyfish have been one of the most enduring creatures on earth; they can hunt enough prey to double their body weight daily, they kill almost effortlessly with their sting, and they do it all without blood, bones or brains.
Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium has a new exhibit entitled Jellies, and it will be running through May of 2012. The video above was filmed with RED’s new Epic, the camera that’s shooting Hollywood’s 3-D films these days, and is well worth a watch.
Bodysurfing on the Outer Banks last week, my mother and I were stung by jellyfish. Jokingly, we spoke of urinating on the area where their tentacles had graced our skin. I then came home to our rental house only to find out from BBC that a new report had been released by the British Red Cross, warning that victims of jellyfish stings should not use urine to treat the sting, but seawater or vinegar.
I once heard that the chemical makeup of seawater is almost identical to that of human blood, and that 90% of the world’s problems could be solved by seawater. Jellyfish stings are no exception.