JellyFish Facts

Swimming Jellyfish

Swimming Jellyfish picture

Swimming Jellyfish

Jellyfish are one of the most fascinating creatures in the marine kingdom. Their shape, their texture and their vivid colorations make them stand out among other creatures of the ocean. Their gelatinous bodies make them very attractive in the surrounding water and they are a visual treat to look at.

Jellyfish exist on many different levels of the marine water. From the very surface of the water to the dark depths of the water, jellyfish are found at all different levels. Many jellyfish travel from one level of the water to the other. For instance, the Portuguese Man of War usually swims at the surface, but if it detects any threat or danger, it can easily duck under the water and escape from danger. On the other hand, the Mangrove Jellyfish usually stays at the bottom of the shallow water body, but rises to the surface when it detects danger. The freshwater jellyfish migrates follows the path of sun throughout the day. Jellyfish that are photosensitive are able to detect light and move in its direction. All jellyfish are capable of motion in some way or the other.

However, the fact of the matter is that jellyfish do not swim. They do not have fins like fish or any other organ to enable them to swim. Believe it or not, more than 95% of the body of the jellyfish is just water. The body of the jellyfish is an extremely simple and rudimentary structure. It consists only of a bell, oral arms and tentacles. Some jellyfish have tentacles, while some do not. Similarly, in some species, the oral arms are highly defined, while in some others they are not. Apart from that, jellyfish just have a cavity containing a gullet, stomach and intestines. On one end is the mouth, whereas on the other is the anus. They do not have any facility to allow swimming.

However, as we noted earlier, jellyfish are in fact, capable of motion. The fact is that jellyfish depend upon the currents, tides and winds for all horizontal motion. When they are underwater, they are carried across vast distances through the currents in the water. When the jellyfish are floating, they get transported from place to place by wind at the surface of the water. The weight of the jellyfish is so negligible, that it is very easy for them to get carried away by wind, currents and tides.

Jellyfish are however, capable of vertical motion. It is their bell shape that enables them to do so. They thrust water in and out of the bell to make themselves move downward or upward. This is the only way jellyfish can move. They may be able to move upwards or downwards diagonally, but, they are incapable of moving horizontally. In some specialized cases like the man of war, there is an air bladder present which gets deflated to allow the jellyfish to sink into the water.

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




Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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