The immortal jellyfish or the Turritopsis dohrnii is one of a kind jellyfish found in the Mediterranean Sea. It is recognized for its immortality. Read on to know interesting facts about the immortal jellyfish.
Cells can transform into other types of cells
So how is the immortal jellyfish immortal? The secret of immortality lies in the unique ability of its cells to transform into other types of cells. This process is known as transdifferentiation.
When sick or under threat, immortal jellyfish can return to the polyp state
When it has reached maturity or is sick, its cells transform to form the polyp state from where it again reaches the adult stage. This loop can go on for an infinite number of times.
They are found almost all around the world
They were first spotted in the Mediterranean Sea. Owing to their immortality, the habit of sticking to the base of ships and ballast water discharges, they can now be found all over the world. They have, in fact, been described as an invasive species. Their massive population outburst went unnoticed due to their small size.
They look like a tiny ice cube
Their maximum size reaches up to 4.5 mm both along the height and length. Its small body is gelatinous and transparent. The stomach of this jellyfish is a very bright orange color.
Not all species are immortal
There are other species of the genus Turritopsis, three of them being Turritopsis nutricula, Turritopsis rubra and Turritopsis dohrnii. Of these only is known to be immortal.
Did you know that jellyfish is also known as Medusa due to the resemblance of its tentacles with the evil Medusa from Greek mythology? The number of tentacles in a young immortal jellyfish can be up to 8, while a mature immortal jellyfish can have up to 80 – 90 tentacles.
After all, they do die
It is obvious to think that if they never died, their population must have exploded and invaded massively. However, this doesn’t happen. This is because they get eaten by predators.