• Jellyfish are not fish they are known as Cnidarians
  • Jellies do not possess a true brain. Instead, they get by with a nerve net
  • The tentacles of jellies can trail as long as 100 feet in length
  • All jellies have the ability to sting
  • If you are stung avoid rinsing with freshwater, as that tends to discharge the unfired nematocysts and cause further irritation

Now the really cool stuff

  • Some jellies, not just freak jellies either, are seven feet long
  • All jellies are carnivores and eat fish or other marine creatures- often plankton. They do not actively seek prey or hunt, but rather passively catch prey as it drifts by. Using the nematocysts on their tentacles, they are able to stun or kill food. The food is then brought to the mouth and digestive cavity
  • A jellyfish sting can cause death in two minutes. And many many many jellies are very very very dangerous.


WOW eh?

It's hard to believe that nobody's heard of this particular kind of Jellyfish.

Being, of course, that it's a group, not an aquarian critter of dubious proportions.

Formed in the early 90's, good for two albums and then gone, the group meshed catchy lyrics with Queen style riffs and Ben Folds-esque piano thingies. Yes, thingies.

Other comparisons can be drawn, but I can't recall them off hand. But, ever since my boss introduced me to them a month ago, I've been listening to the first album, "Bellybutton", nearly ever work day since. Thingies of the world, untie!

Apart from bothering countless bathers every year and being fascinating specimens to watch undulate through the water, jellyfish are also a source of food to many Asian nations including China, Japan and Vietnam.

Not any old jellyfish mind, but one particular species, Rhopilema esculenta, which is fortunately harmless to swimmers and diners alike. This jellyfish, which is known as hoi chit in China has long tentacles, which drape down from a large upper canopy, just like a textbook jellyfish. The canopy grows to about 30 cm (12 in) across, the same size as an old style LP record.

Once the jellyfish are caught, the tentacles are removed and the canopy is salted, then sun dried. The end result resembles faded, crumpled parchment. Jellyfish is always sold dried, in small packets. These need to be soaked before use to reconstitute the jellyfish and to remove excess saltiness. Traditionally the reconstituting liquor is a mix of rice wine, ginger and water, but it is perfectly acceptable to use plain water.

So why should you eat a salty, sun dried sea blubber? Well, jellyfish has no flavour of it's own, making it the perfect vehicle for carrying full force flavours such as sesame, chilli and seaweed. More importantly, it has a fantastically crisp texture that is revered in Asia, particularly China. It has a very similar texture to the white cloud ear mushroom.

Game? Try this wonderful, summery salad.

Jellyfish salad with sesame, wakame and cloud ear


  • 125 gm (1/4 lb) dried salted jellyfish
  • 250 gm white cloud ear mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 20 gm dried wakame seaweed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Method

    Soak the jellyfish in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain and slice finely. Soak the wakame in warm water for 5 minutes and drain. Slice in a similar width to the jellyfish. Slice the cloud mushrooms to match. Combine in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and set aside for 20 minutes to let the flavours get to know one another. If it is a particularly hot day, serve chilled.

    The true jellyfish has one of the more interesting life cycles of animals.
    1. This starts off when male and female jellyfish spawn. Many times this is synchronized with the moon and the changing seasons (akin to that of its cousins, the corals). The eggs can be fertilized either in the water itself, or under the bell of the female jellyfish. When released to the free water, both the sperm and the eggs are considered plankton (and a vital source of food for some animals)
    2. The eggs eventually hatch into jelly larvae. These small zooloplankton (plankton coming from the Greek planktos meaning wandering - similar to that of planet) swim around on cilia waiting to bump into something firm. Realize that this is sometimes a very long journey for some species of jellyfish that live in the open ocean, thousands of miles from the coast. Seaweed and floating debris will do just fine.
    3. Once the larva are attached to a surface they grow into polyps that resemble corals, sea anemones, or hydra with tentacles. Like the animals which it resemble, the polyps can reproduce asexually by budding a new polyp from its side.
    4. As the polyp matures (living typically for a few months to several years), it will undergo strobilation - dividing itself into a series of flat segments (dozens). These segments loosen and fall off to form ephyrae.
    5. The ephyrae is a juvenile form of the adult medusa (jellyfish). Though still small enough to be considered plankton it jus just a matter of food (as an ephyrae it eats smaller plankton) and time before they grow large enough to become sexualy mature and thus an adult.
    6. The adult jellyfish typically lives for about 2-6 months. Cause of death is typically either being eaten (the sunfish and sea turtles being the primary predators), rough water or being washed ashore.
    7. One species (the Turritopsis nutricula) is capable of returning to the polyp stage (#3) after becoming a mature adult.

    Realize that this cycle is that of a true jellyfish (class Scyphozoa) such as the Moon Jelly, the Lion's Mane, Sea Nettle and Sea Wasp. Not all members of the phylum Cnidaria are jellyfish (and not at all jellyfish are true jellyfish, such as those of Cubozoa). The phylum Cnidaria includes sea anemones, corals, sea pens and hydra along with jellyfish. Each of these have their own life-cycle.


    Jel"ly*fish` (?), n. Zool.

    Any one of the acalephs, esp. one of the larger species, having a jellylike appearance. See Medusa.


    © Webster 1913.

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