How can jellyfishes sting?

My city has a wonderful nearby beach known as Las Canteras beach. Last wednesday there were many jellyfishes on the sea shore belonging to Pelagia noctiluca species, cnidarians that the waves drag and leave on the sand when they bloom due to higher sea temperatures, among other reasons.

I have always wondered how cnidocites (stinging cells that these animals have) look like under a microscope. Therefore, I carefully picked two of them and took them home.

I viewed a tentacle (pointed above) and saw clusters and clusters of spherical structures that represent cnidocites batteries! Watch by your own:

To my astonishment, many of these cells were detached from the body surface. I wonder if they can function under this circumstance.

I could not see what these cells fire to act as stinging elements and was about to abandon when, wow!, I watched this:

I can understand now that thousands of microscopic darts can sting in our skin all in a sudden carrying irritating or venomous substances. Another “discovery” achieved thanks to this incredible paper microscope!

Cheers!

Cristina Bosch

3 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Wow Wow Cristina what a wonderful observation. As always making us think about interesting things. Would love to replicate this.

  2. Cristina says:

    Thank you, Laksiyer! It pleases me to read that you find it interesting. I enjoy so much with this “small discoveries”. After being almost always learning from books……you can imagine what it is when you see things with your own eyes. You mumble “Aha!!! Here it is! This is what I was taught!” Then you feel you acquire a new idea that completes the former content, idea which is not written in those books. I hope I have explained myself properly.

  3. Mohamad says:

    Hi Cristina,

    Hope you are doing well. Thanks for this interesting post, I really enjoyed watching the videos.

    I started wondering more about Jellyfishes. But unfortunately, we do not have any here!
    Looking forward thoroughly to your future posts.

    Best,
    Mohammed

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