Avoid Accidents with Jellyfish

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Jellyfish are increasing in numbers in our waters, and USM’s researchers get us to the bottom of the matter.

Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years and possibly as long as 700 million years or more – making them the oldest multi-organ animal. They are members of the phylum Cnidaria family and come in a wide range of forms.

The body of an adult jellyfish consists of a bell-shaped hood enclosing its internal structure, from which its tentacles are suspended. Each tentacle is covered with “nematocysts” – a type of venomous cell unique to the phylum Cnidaria which can sting or kill other animals. Jellyfish lack basic sensory organs and a brain; however, their nervous systems and rhopalia (small sensory structures) allow them to perceive stimulants, such as light and current flow, and enable them to respond quickly.


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