Just when I thought i had seen it all, This shocking revelation hit me. Wow! A species of jellyfish that is immortal. Immortal as in it never dies or it cannot be killed? i asked myself. Let’s find out on Dailynubs
When the name jellyfish comes to mind, I know you think of those opaque drifting balloons with trailing tentacles in the ocean. But it turns out thats only a second stage in their life cycle “The Medusa stage”. They spend this part of their lives as small, transparent animals hanging out in oceans around the world. As if that’s the end for them but they can actually start life again by reverting to an earlier stage of their life cycle.
What Makes It Immortal?
The jellyfish Turritopsis dohrnii. is the species known to be biologically immortal. Biologically immortal means it’s life can be re-lived over and over again yet it can be killed by a predator, disease, or environmental catastrophe. So maybe it might not be all that immortal but then it still is.
According to Science, It’s life begins with a fertilised egg, which grows into a larval stage called a planula. After a quick swim, the planula latches onto a surface (like a rock, or the ocean floor, or a boat’s hull). Where it develops into a polyp: a tube-shaped structure with a mouth at one end and a kind of ‘foot’ at the other. It remains stuck in place for some time, growing into a little colony of polyps that share feeding tubes with each other.
Eventually, depending on the jellyfish species, one of these polyps will form an outgrowth called a ‘bud’. Or it may produce separate segments stacked on top of one another, that can then break away from the rest of the colony. This process is responsible for the next stages of the jellyfish life cycle. The ephyra (a small jellyfish) and the medusa, which is the fully-formed adult stage capable of sexual reproduction.
For most other jellyfish, this stage is the end of the line. But for the Turritopsis dohrnii and maybe some others yet to be discovered, it has some tricks up it’s sleeves. Such that in the event of environmental stress, like starvation or injury, it can just revert back to being a tiny blob of tissue. Which then changes back into the sexually immature polyp phase of life. It is a bit like a butterfly turning back into a caterpillar, or a frog becoming a tadpole again. Amazing right…
Are There More Immortal Creatures?
Other creatures have also been considered immortal (like that of the Lobster and Ming). Based on the fact that they do not die just easily or have a really long life span. But none can be compared to the nature of this species of jellyfish. They are exceptional.