Having a run in with plain old snot is bad enough. But experiencing a close encounter with jellyfish snot is even worse. Especially if it comes from this rather curious creature.
When swimming in the ocean, swimmers occasionally get stung by jellyfish. Normally jellyfish sting by dragging their tentacles through the water, stunning whatever unlucky creatures happen to cross their path. But scientists have discovered a jellyfish that releases a mucus filled with stinging cells. In other words, jellyfish snot, and boy does it sting.
Cassiopea Xamachana (try saying that 10-times fast) is an upside-down jellyfish that lives near mangrove forests. When agitated or hunting for food, these upside-down jellyfish release clouds of mucus. This mucus contains tiny stinging cells that zoom around looking for something to sting. In the lab they love to sting shrimp. In the wild, scientists suspect jellyfish use this technique as both a defense against predators and a way to immobilize their next meal.
These jellyfish aren’t’ very common, and they tend to hang out in places where people aren’t’ likely to be swimming. So you shouldn’t be afraid of getting in the water. But it’s a fun thing to know about. We already had laughing hyenas, spitting cobras, and now you can add snotting jellyfish to the mix. What’s next…Deer with deadly diarrhea?
1. Erin Garcia de Jesus,”Jellyfish snot stings swimmers,” Science News, p. 5, March 14, 2020