Along with this lovely jellyfish photo that she posted to the BoingBoing Flickr Pool, Kate Tomlinson asks, "How come they don't sting each other?"
Not a bad question. How does a creature with no brain—but with long, venomous tentacles—manage to travel in dense packs without things getting really socially awkward? I took Kate's query to Southern Fried Scientist, a science blogger who doubles as a graduate student studying deep-sea biology.
Jellyfish can and do sting other jellyfish, he says, but really only when they're hunting jellies of another species. They don't sting the other members of their same-species swarm. Neither (luckily) do they zap themselves. It works because jellyfish tentacles aren't inherently poisonous. Rather, it's the nematocytes—special cells that line the tentacles. When touched, nematocytes fire off microscopic quills that lodge in a victim and pump in the venom. But this weapon comes with a built-in safety switch.
"Jellyfish have chemoreceptors that turn the nematocyte on or off," Southern Fried Scientist says. If the receptors pick up the chemical signature of the jellyfish's own species, nothing happens. Everything else is assumed to be potential prey (or, at least, a potential threat) and, thus, worth firing upon.
Teams of researchers are developing sesame seed-size neuro-implants that detect brain activity that signals depression and then deliver targeted electrical zaps to elevate your mood. It’s very early days in the science and technology but recent studies suggest that we’re on the path. Links to scientific papers below. Fortunately, the goal is to develop tools […]
In the 1960s, when Scientific American copy editor Michael J. Battaglia was 15, he had a chemical romance with the periodic table. In fact, Battaglia was so fascinated by the basic substances of our universe that he tried to collect ’em all (at least the 104 elements that science knew about at the time.) From […]
Aren’t they beautiful? Here’s how ‘ghost apples’ formed on this apple tree in West Michigan.
High-def cameras are available to anyone and for much less than they were just a decade ago. Even the phones in our pockets can be used to shoot and edit short films. It’s never been easier to be a filmmaker, providing you have the technique. Enter the Film & Cinematography Mastery Bundle, an online boot […]
Breaking into the indie video game market may be easier than you think. It all starts with an idea, and then it’s a matter of finding the right development platform to bring it to life. No matter what that platform is, it’s a good bet that it’s covered in the 2019 Game Dev & Design […]
Learning a new language like Spanish doesn’t have to be hard. Either you can buy a ticket to a Spanish-speaking country, immerse yourself in the culture and pick it up intuitively – or you can do it from the comfort of the chair you’re in right now by logging on to Rocket Spanish. There are […]