Link #46: A Jellyfish Will Evaporate on Dry Land!


Chain of Facts - A Connection of Facts

Link #46: A Jellyfish Will Evaporate on Dry Land!

Image credit: Jeff Kubina cc2.0

We don’t know about two-thirds of the organisms living in our oceans but the ones we do know keep throwing up surprises our way. Their way of living is often extremely different from our own. For instance, in the last post, we spoke about how most sharks can’t breathe unless they are swimming or even how they sink when they stop swimming.

Another creature that is at least as strange if not stranger than the shark is the jellyfish. For most of us, jellyfish is nothing but that irksome critter that has a tendency to sting when least expected. However, did you know that the jellyfish is so vulnerable under the sun that it can evaporate?

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Why Does a Jellyfish Evaporate Under the Sun?

A backpacker examining a Scyphozoa jellyfish washing up on beach near Plettenberg Bay in South Africa. Image credit: PretoriaTravel cc3.0

If you were to leave a jellyfish unattended on dry land under the sun and come back after a considerable amount of time, you won’t find much left of it. The reason for this is that the jellyfish has evaporated while you were gone. Why does this happen?

The explanation for this is fairly simple. Jellyfish or jellies, as they are often called, are mainly made up of water. In fact, you can find jellyfish that are 98 percent water. At the very least, jellyfish will contain 95 percent water.

Since such a large part of their bodies is water, they are especially prone to evaporation.

Jellyfish Are Not Even Fish!

Photomontage of planktonic organisms. Image credit: Kils GFDL v1.2

A very common mistake that people make is that they think that a jellyfish is some kind of a fish. This is not true because jellyfishes are essentially a species of plankton. What’s more is that they can grow to enormous sizes.

For instance, there are jellyfishes in the world that are 7 feet long and this doesn’t even include their tentacles. If you include the tentacles, the jellyfish can grow to be as long as a massive 100 feet.

Because jellyfishes are mostly water, you’ll find them to be translucent. Moreover, if you were to cut a jellyfish in half then you’ll find that both halves are identical in nature and appearance.

Jellyfish Can Cause Lots Of Problems Too!

Giant Nomura jellyfish which are stifling the fishing industry and posing a danger to swimmers. Image credit: KENPEI GFDL v2.1, Japan License

From afar, jellyfish look harmless. Some people even find them to be beautiful to look at. However, jellyfish, if allowed to proliferate, may end up being very dangerous to the existing ecosystems.

For example, Japan has been fighting the problem of giant jellyfish for a number of years now. There was a huge influx of giant jellyfish in the Sea of Japan in 2005 and it continued for a number of years.

The jellyfish in the Sea of Japan affected the fishing industry of Japan and even caused some deaths. Moreover, they killed the fishes in the water, affecting the fishing industry even more.

In 2006, jellyfish even clogged up the cooling system of a nuclear plant in the US. This incident lasted two weeks and resulted in a 60 percent reduction of output from the plant.

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