Yrrr, I hate these flipping things. Having a quiet lil paddle up the beach for a bit of keep-fit and slammed right into one as I was admiring the view. Nothing worse than being out alone in the surf and feeling a thump against your board. Eye's widen, heart races, kak yourself basically. Thankfully it turned out to be a big blob of jelly instead of a grey toothy friend.
Luckily for us the majority of our jelly's have more skrik factor than anything else. Not like the Aussies who have the infamous Box jellyfish. A sting from these ou's and you're dead in about 3 minutes. More people are killed by jellyfish each year than by sharks, with jelly's having caused at least 5,568 recorded deaths since 1954.
Even a lifeless jellyfish has the capability to sting. So careful when you go kicking 'em about on the beach. It may just have the last laugh....
Box jellyfish are mainly up the north-east coast of Aus - but changing climate could see them spread further south to the famous Gold Coast surf zone - Snapper could eventually become Stinger!
As deadly as these critters can be, they're pretty rudimentary lifeforms. No brain, no lungs, no skeleton, no circulatory system. They eat and crap out the same hole - glad we evolved from the mouth/anus combo. Yuk. Some have up to 24 "eye's" but they still can't see for sh*te, basically being able to determine between light and dark. So yah, not the sharpest crayon in nature's pencil bag.
But sometimes simple is the secret to success: Jellyfish were there even before the dinosaurs existed on planet Earth. So they're real locals.
Most jellyfish live anywhere from a few hours to a few months. There are two phases to jelly life: the stationary polyp stage and the mobile medusa phase. It's the medusa phase that we're usually referring to when we talk about jellyfish. Typically, jellies start as polyps and develop into medusas.
But there is one species that's immortal. The Benjamin Button of jelly's. When the Turritopsis nutricula is gatvol of being all grown up, it just reverts back to polyp stage and starts again. Pretty damn neat.
You may have heard that jellyfish are taking over the world's oceans. However, there's actually a good deal of debate about this issue among scientists. Still jelly's have been around forever and do seem to be getting more prolific as the climate changes.
If you're wondering how the species has managed to exist for so long despite having such short lifespans it's cos they breed like crazy. A single jellyfish can release as much as 45,000 eggs each day! So the saying should rather be "they breed like jellyfish" instead of "they breed like rabbits!"
Also, if a jellyfish is cut in two, the pieces of the jellyfish can regenerate and create two new organisms. Similarly, if a jellyfish is injured, it may clone itself and potentially produce hundreds of offspring.
They're really adaptable creatures as well. There are around four hundred dead zone areas in the oceans of the world where only jellyfish can survive and no other life form. So guessing they still gonna be floating about long after we're gone.
The biggest jellyfish ever found had a diameter of 8 feet and its tentacles were as long as half the length of a football field! Don't wanna paddle into him in the surf!
OK, so a group of fish is called a school; a bunch of dolphins is a pod, so what's a whole lotta jelly's called?
A smack. So reckon we can just South African-ise it and call it a "klap"!?
The most likely jelly for you to swim into along our coast is the Rhizostoma pulmo. A massive hemispherical globby dude measuring between 40 – 90 cm in diameter (the picture at the top of the article). It will do nothing more to you really than gross you out when you stick your hand into by mistake mid-stroke.
If you do end up getting stung, the best remedy is to run hot water over the area - hot as you can bear without burning yourself. Otherwise some vinegar might help too. Pee'ing on it? Debatable.
Personally, the only jelly I like is the one with custard and ice-cream....