A Blue View: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jellies

These gelatinous animals are more fascinating than you think. To prove it, we’ve collected a few cool facts guaranteed to give you a brand new perspective on jellies:

Published May 24, 2016

1.Not all jellies emerge in the summertime. The lion’s mane jelly is sometimes called the winter jellyfish (and for good reason). You can spot this species here in the Chesapeake Bay from November through March.

lions mane jelly

2.A group of jellies is called a smack. Their other common collective names include “bloom” and “swarm.”

3.Some jellies glow in the dark. The comb jelly is just one example of a bioluminescent jelly. It lights up when disturbed at night.

 Leidys Comb Jellyfish

4.Jellies don’t have brains. There’s really not much to a jellyfish. They’re composed of three layers: an outer layer called the epidermis; a thick, elastic layer made of a jelly-like substance called mesoglea; and an inner layer called the gastrodermis.

5.Jellyfish have traveled to space. That’s right! Moon jellies flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia during a 1991 study on weightlessness and the development of juvenile jellies.

Moon Jellyfish

6.Jellies can be huge! The largest recorded Lion’s mane jelly had tentacles reaching 120 feet, making it one of the longest known animals out there.

lions mane jellyfish

7.About 95 percent of a jellyfish is water. In comparison, humans consist of about 65 percent water.

8.They might hold the key to immortality. Well, sort of. The Turritopsis dohrnii (also known as the “immortal jellyfish”) can transform itself back into a polyp—its earliest stage of life—to begin its life cycle all over again.

9.Jellies do great things. They’re an important food source for many larger animals, including fish, crustaceans and sea turtles.

10.You can touch a jelly at the National Aquarium! In our newest exhibit, Living Seashore, guests can touch the pulsing bell of a moon jelly.

To learn more about these amazing aquatic animals, listen to this week’s episode of A Blue View:

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