After about 15 years of diving on the White Sea Organic Station in Russia, marine biologist Alexander Semenov has realized greater than most about which jellyfish stings are the worst. In the event you contact the egg-yolk jellyfish by chance, for instance, it’s not too dangerous, he says. And although it’s best to try to keep out of the way in which of a lion’s mane jellyfish, when you see a glimmer of solar illuminate even one of many jelly’s “mane” of as much as 150 threadlike tentacles in entrance of you, it’s too late. “The subsequent second, these tentacles simply go in your lips, and it hurts,” Semenov says.
Such are the hazards that include documenting the strangest life-forms floating, shimmying and pulsing by our oceans—to not point out the brutal chilly. The day he spoke with Scientific American, Semenov had simply been in 35 diploma Fahrenheit water, which felt heat, in contrast with the 30 diploma F diving temperatures of the last few months.
Semenov places up with all of it, even repeatedly visiting websites at particular instances, to seek out the aquatic life he’s on the lookout for. However to him, no a part of his job seems like an train in persistence. “I simply love all these items,” Semenov says. “And I can spend months and years in the identical place, diving and searching.”
Venus’s girdle, a species of comb jelly, or ctenophore. Usually invisible, this gelatinous creature turns into iridescent when it’s disturbed. It rolls as much as defend its abdomen (purple horizontal bar) and neural hub from predators. “Fish might want to eat a number of slime earlier than attending to the middle,” Semenov says.
Mediterranean dealfish: The species swims vertically and lets its nonfunctional tail fin drift behind. If the electrical violet dome and delicate wisps of tissue look acquainted, that’s the level: the Mediterranean dealfish’s objective is to confuse prey into pondering it’s a jellyfish.
This comb jelly homes a hyperiid amphipod (pink mass with black eyes at proper). These parasitic amphipods bore to their host’s abdomen, generally in giant sufficient numbers that the sufferer seems extra like a strainer than a jellyfish or ctenophore.
Egg-yolk jellyfish close to Kamchatka Peninsula in jap Russia. These jellies flip brilliant yellow as they age. And although considerably stingy, the tentacles are additionally sticky, giving the species two methods to ensnare prey.
King rag worm: This North Atlantic and Arctic resident is the seafloor’s favourite snack, which is why it lives in cracks and catches prey by ejecting its jaws as much as 1 / 4 of its physique size away.
Colony of salps, a kind of sea squirt, dwelling aspect by aspect in a spiral. These barrel-shaped filter feeders have a protecting rod working the size of their nerve wire whereas younger, making them and different sea quirts our closest relatives among invertebrates.
Salp spiral from above: The creatures band collectively in colonies that may attain as much as 26 toes lengthy. Every member filters a lot water that, relying on the salps’ numbers, their fecal droppings would possibly shift the ocean’s carbon cycle.
Sea butterfly within the Sea of Japan: The utmost wingspan of those free-swimming mollusks is barely a centimeter (0.4 inch). However Semenov has seen the White Sea go nearly black as hundreds of sea butterflies and their darkish shells stuffed the water.
Crystal jelly glow at nighttime, thanks to green fluorescent protein. The researchers who recognized and remoted the protein and developed its use as a fluorescent monitoring system in different organic techniques earned a Nobel Prize for his or her work.