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July 19, 2019

At first glance, jellyfish look like empty bags floating through the ocean. Their clear, gelatinous bodies have no heart or brain; to most people, the only thing worth noting about jellyfish is their ability to sting you.

But there’s more to jellyfish than just drifting around the ocean, passively and aimlessly. Here are some things to note about them:

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They have a sense of direction

It’s often wondered how jellyfish navigate their way across the waters without having any eyes—that’s probably what earned them the reputation of being passive drifters in the first place. Research has suggested that there’s more to their methods of traveling.

Jellyfish can sense ocean currents and decide to swim against them, it was revealed in the study that employed tracking devices to observe their movements. It is speculated that they’re able to do this using the sense of the currents across the surface of their bodies. Other suppositions to explain this ability is the use of the Earth’s magnetic field to help in navigation.

They form blooms

When the population of jellyfish accelerates, owing to better water conditions or other factors, they sometimes form blooms on the surface of the ocean that goes on for miles. This is when huge numbers of jellyfish are floating together and can be a cause for serious concern.

Jellyfish blooms disrupt fishing practices by harming fish and tearing nets, as well as blocking water-intake pipes of nuclear power plants. Tourism can also be greatly affected by these blooms when they occur.

They hunt

Jellyfish don’t merely float in the oceans and survive on whatever comes their way; they’re predators that hunt for their food. They normally feed on small fish, phytoplankton, zooplankton, and small animals like shrimp.

They hunt for their food using their tentacles, which are equipped with small stinging cells that inject a toxin into their prey.

They sustain the food chain

Every animal plays a part to keep the marine food chain going; while jellyfish eat other small animals, they also become prey for large fish and turtles. In fact, humans eat jellyfish too!

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