Weird and Mysterious Animals: Immortal Jellyfish

by Shruthi Ravichandran

Hey again! This is Shruthi with a special extra edition this week! (Don’t forget to check out our awesome article on the insanely cute Axolotls!) Meet the Immortal Jellyfish! Turritopsis dohrnii, the immortal jellyfish, is the only known official biologically immortal species! What’s the secret? Adult Jellyfish, even after they have reproduced, actually revert back to their polyp stage- their bodies shrink, their tentacles retract, and they sink back to the ocean floor, almost as if they were reborn! The even cooler thing is that they can do this for eternity–they quite literally can’t die (of natural causes)!! Because of this perfected process, called transdifferentiation, there are only two ways they can die, being eaten by another fish and contracting a disease.

The question everyone asks: How old are they actually? Unfortunately, we have absolutely no idea! We are currently unable to observe them in the wild and in lab environments, they live longer than the experiments and scientists, themselves!

These jellyfish thrive in the warm waters of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. They feed on small mollusks, plankton, and fish eggs. But don’t let this cool feature fool you! These creatures are tiny! They reach a maximum of four and a half millimeters! That’s about a third of an aspirin pill! Baby jellyfish have on average eight tentacles, while adults can have up to ninety!

Unfortunately, we can’t count on seeing one anytime soon! They are almost completely invisible and live in waters much deeper than humans can go for now! The only distinctive features are their bright red-colored stomachs!

Know of a weird creature you want to share with the world? Leave a comment below and we’ll write an article about it!!

Until next time!

Happy Sciencing!!

Shruthi 🙂