JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Protection

Jellyfish Protection picture

Jellyfish Protection

Jellyfish are not exactly the strongest looking marine creatures and without a spine or any other significant skeletal features many of us wonder just how the jellyfish are able to protect themselves from predators. The answer is not as complicated as some people may think and yet the method is very effective, even fatal to the predator at times.

All jellyfish have tentacles which they use to not only navigate and sometimes swim depending on the species but to also protect themselves from harm. These tentacles are used by the jellyfish to sting those who are preying on them. On the tentacles of jellyfish are cells called Cnidocytes. These Cnidocytes contain Nematocysts and when an object comes into contact with the Cnidocytes the filaments of hundreds or even thousands of the Nematocysts are then injected into the predator. The victim is injected with an irritating or sometimes even poisonous substance. Not all jellyfish stings are harmful or painful to humans. Due to the fact that there is no guarantee whether an encounter with a jellyfish will result in discomfort or have no effect or may even cause death it is recommended that contact with jellyfish is not made on purpose. Certain members of the box jellyfish family can kill with lightning speed due to their toxic sting, the sting can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure making it imperative that a stung swimmer gets out of the water immediately in order to save themselves from drowning. Some victims of jellyfish stings may also go into anaphylactic shock which also requires prompt medical attention.

Despite how it may appear the jellyfish do not intentionally sting humans. The act of stinging predators which come into contact with the jellyfish is not a conscious one on the jellyfish's part, stinging occurs mechanically when an object comes into contact with the fish. Even though swimmers are rarely trying to intentionally touch the jellyfish it does not matter because the jellyfish has no choice but to sting everything that touches it, whether it senses the person or creature to be a threat or not.

The toxic contents of the tentacles of the jellyfish are capable of doing anything from simply causing discomfort or hurting a predator to paralysing the predator or even killing the threat. Jellyfish are unlike many other marine creatures as they do not have teeth, fins, scales or nippers. Where a crab can rely on its hard shell and its nippers to help protect it from harm and defend itself from predators the jellyfish has neither nippers or tough armor, in fact the jellyfish is rather soft and is not protected by any kind of body armor, the poison injecting tentacles are all it has to protect itself. These tentacles attach to the predator with barb like hairs which pierce the skin and take hold whilst releasing their venom into the predators flesh. The tentacles will continue to attach to the skin and the venom will be repeatedly released into these entry points even if the body of the jellyfish has been torn from the tentacles.

Learn more about Jellyfish Stings and Jellyfish Sting Safety

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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