Monday, February 11

Invasion of the Killer Jellyfish

Paul Eccleston in the Telegraph UK tells us that jellyfish are born predators. They are [a] "perfect toxin-loaded killing machine, there is no creature on earth that can dispatch a human being so easily or so quickly." If they wrap part of their tentacles around you, you have 180 seconds to live. Jellyfish have four brains, are very competitive, have 24 eyes which ensures 360 degree visibility, and carry more poison than necessary. Plus the damn things are resillient: some farmers in Japan thought of killing the jellyfish by chopping them up. Turned out to be the wrong move to make--the males produced more sperm and females carried more babies. In times of stress, jellyfish make sure that they would survive and procreate more.

We know jellyfish are dangerous, and they've caused bizaare things in the past, like swarming in geothermal plants that caused power supplies to trip all over Luzon. If we manage to stay away from them, then no problem. But overfishing the seas means no food for them, forcing their population to explode (remember, in times of stress, procreate!) and to move inwards. The jellyfish decided that since we've taken their fish, they must follow it ashore. It's all weird but the scientists studied the behavioral patterns of jellyfish, even put tracking devices on them, and there you go. Unless we do something about this, it's bound to cause trouble.

We know that jellyfish hang out in the shallow waters, because it's easier to hunt their prey that way. So to avoid jellyfish attacks, wear red. It's not an absolute deterrent, but the scientists have observed that jellyfish ploughed through black and white colored poles in the water, but completely stayed away from the red ones.

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