Ever wonder how a Jellyfish “stings”? Turns out, it’s actually like a Needle. Check out this awesome graphic that Emily Weddle created from the latest episode of Smarter Every Day.
As you can see in the graphic, a Jellyfish actually stings you with needles. The process in the photo spans the time of approximately 20 milliseconds. If you watch the video I incorporate timing data so you can perform measurements.
What’s so cool about this is scientists don’t really understand HOW they nematocyst fire. They’re pretty confident that they’re triggered by mechancial contact on the outside, of the tentacle… but they’re NOT sure how the stinger “inflates”. Dr. Seymour thinks it’s too fast to be osmotic. There’s obviously a channel somehow that opens and creates flow and pressure into the organelle. I bet it’s some kind of REALLY quick chemical process.
I think we’re going to call graphics like this “Smarter Every Day InfoGifs”. Emily came up with that name, I can’t take credit for it! Here’s her webpage.