By Chloe McCormack
The Brighton Sea Life Centre unveiled its latest attraction this summer- a jellyfish disco!
This filled me with great excitement, as Jellyfish are pretty much my favourite thing in the world. When I die, I hope to be re-incarnated as one. My life cycle will be short (between a few hours to several years depending on which type I am) but I like to imagine I will live in bloodless, brainless pleasure for that time, wending my ghostly, membranous way up to 12,000 feet beneath the ocean.
Initially I fell in love with jellyfish after seeing them at the London Aquarium. Like enormous lava lamps, the circular tanks were filled with tiny medusea in myriad hues. Up close they are beautiful; trippy apparitions undulating silently, with tentacles dragging like seaweed. After this encounter I was fascinated with them, but it was only after a little research that I began to realise how incredible they really are.
And like all true fanatics- I intend to convert to my Cult of Jellyfish (current membership: one), so here are some fascinating facts about jellyfish:
Estimated to be over 500 MILLION years old- they are the oldest living multi organ animal in the world. Essentially, they are elaborate amoebas, who’ve evolved so successfully that they’re found in every ocean.
Jellyfish do not have specialized digestive, nervous, respiratory or circulatory systems. Basically they don’t have nerves, lungs, stomachs, or blood.
Although some jellyfish are more equal that others; a Box jellyfish has 24 eyes, two of which are capable of seeing color, and four parallel brains. This makes it one of the only creatures capable of having a 360 degree view.
All Jellyfish, however, have sexual organs and can reproduce sexually or asexually. This is, when you think about it, pretty handy.
And finally, there is a type of jellyfish that can live infinitely. Post reproduction it transforms from medusa (which is the name off a fully grown jellyfish) back to the polyp stage, thereby escaping death.
So, go to the Brighton Sealife Centre soon (you can pick up two for one vouchers for free in most Co-operative supermarkets in Brighton) and marvel at these gelatinous zooplankton and their extraordinary idiosyncrasies.