WATER, MUCUS, AND STINGING... OH MY!
Have you ever heard of stinging ocean waters? Swimmers often feel the stinging effects of the upside-down jellyfish, even if they do not touch the jellyfish. These upside-down swimming jellies are found in the warm coastal waters from the Florida Keys to Australia to the Red Sea. Upside-down jellies feed by releasing a cloud of mucus. The mucus is then sucked back in, containing stunned shrimp and plankton. What is in the mucus that stings and immobilizes the jellyfish prey? Scientists found microscopic stinging cells, called nematocysts.
Most jellyfish have nematocysts attached to their tentacles. Upside-down jellyfish have a different technique for stunning their prey - they launch stinging cells by mixing them with mucus and “spitting” them upward into the water. These tiny masses of stinging cells are able to move independently because of tiny attached filaments. These jellyfish literally produce “moving torpedoes.” Each torpedo is covered with thousands of stinging cells. What an ingenious way to stun and eat prey. Do we believe torpedoes happen by accident and chance? Then how could the upside-down jellyfish’s torpedoes happen by mutational accident and chance? If you are ever swimming in the ocean and the water starts to sting you, you are probably being “torpedoed” by a jellyfish.