Since the opening of our new Jelly Gallery, many people have fallen in love with these brainless, spineless, soft-bodied, gelatinous, pulsating, free-floating, tentacled animals. People have “oohed” and “aahed” over their seemingly effortless beauty and grace. Others have had moments of confusion, over the fact that something that is essentially 96% water and incredibly intricate and delicate, can at the same time have the power to bring nuclear power reactors and aircraft carriers to a standstill. It is mind-boggling, and completely true.
So, if the Jelly Gallery hasn’t convinced you that jellies and their kin are absolutely incredible, then here are a couple more things for you to consider. Most of these facts came up during our recent Jelly Night with jelly experts Prof Mark Gibbons and Krish Lewis. It was an evening of superb fact sharing and appreciation-building for animals that really defy our traditional definition of the word "animal".
Did you know?
2. Recent studies have shown that urinating on a jelly sting is actually not the best medicine. Get the sting off, pour vinegar over the affected area, and then submerge the affected area in hot water.
3. Jellies are widely consumed in the East. We might all have to learn how to prepare these wobbly critters, since scientists are telling us that for every 3.8 million tons of fish in the Benguela Current, there are 12.8 million tons of jellies.
4. Added to the above fact, jellies make the perfect banting food. They contain very little fat and 0 ... read that again ... zero carbs! Nom!
5. Zooplankton usually comprises of the larvae or egg stages of animals, but in the case of jellies, adults are actually plankton.
6. Rhizostomae jellies, like the blue blubber jelly, do not have tentacles. Instead, they have oral arms. They also have hundreds of mouths down each of these arms. Yes, hundreds…
7. Jelly polyps change into “scars” when under stress. They can stay in this state for years and years and years and years... then grow back to make more jellies.
8. Q: Name one thing that you and I have in common with jellies.
Scientists have found that even brainless jellies need some down time to rest. Just like us, they also struggle to wake up.
9. There is a jelly called the Benjamin Button jelly (Turritopsis dohrnii). It ages in reverse if under stress or in danger.
10. There is a startup that is turning jellies into eco-friendly nappies and female sanitary items. If you can’t join them, then beat them and turn them into something very useful.