Blogs by Hilary Hopkins


A Gathering in the Water

July 07, 2014 / A Gathering in the Water

Hello there.  We are Moon Jellies.  Please do not call us “jellyfish” as we have been around 500,000,000 years, much before Nature organized fish. 

One of your kind, called Linnaeus, named us Aurelia aurita, but that was only about 250 years ago.  A pretty name though, don’t you think?  It means “golden ear” or some such.  But we aren’t golden and certainly do not have those ear things that stick out of your head so unattractively.  Humans are so clueless…

We are proud of our phylum, 10,000 strong, the Cnidarians (leave off the C when you say it).   We Cnidarians have nettles on our veils of tentacles, which hang down lazily in the water and into which small creatures obligingly swim.  We zap these and corkscrew them into our, well, I suppose you humans would call it a mouth.  Were you to be a Cnidarian, you would not have all those complicated and tiresomely awkward parts—brains, bones, hearts and all that messiness.  Instead, you would be admirably simple, as we are: a sack, a mouth, and the aforementioned tentacles.

Now, we Moon Jellies also have sex organs right out there on display.  Those four circles you can see, that’s what those are.  I am sure you will agree that ours are much handsomer than yours.

We are charmingly simple in other ways, too.  We barely move!  Oh, we may pulse our bell a bit, to go sideways if we must, but mostly we just go with the flow, in a relaxing, hypnotic way.  Delightful.   We are not at all fussy, as we find most watery environments to our liking—the tropics, the cold north, and most everything in between.  We merely soak in oxygen from whatever water we happen to be in—none of that loud, agitated breathing that you are subject to.  See how easy your lives could be? 

No, there is not much to us exceedingly beautiful Moon Jellies.  Merely an elegant, efficient reorganization of a lot of water molecules, a bit of carbon and nitrogen, a touch of phosphorus.   Nicely done though, don’t you think?   Really, we are barely there, but we do get your attention. 

A Gathering in the Water


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