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View Diary: Cnidarian Nerve Nets (28 comments)

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  •  box jellies (3+ / 0-)

    Hi, box jellies have complex eyes so it is very likely their nervous systems are more robust than most other jellyfish. I don't know if they're more complex (excluding the eyes) but I suspect that their success has more to do with the changes in behavior that they exhibit as compared to other jellyfish.

    Most jellyfish swim up and down in the water column and are still subject to currents, plus they tend to stay in open waters and are accidental nearshore visitors. Box jellies frequent shallow waters and swim parallel to the bottom where they hunt fish as well as krill and other plankton. They're still technically plankton but more advanced, most likely.

    I'm only guessing here but I suspect that box jellies use their eyes to orient themselves to the sun and their stinging cells are more robust than most jellies as well so the nerve net they posses probably react faster than other types.

    Anemones have the same type of system but they display behaviors that are very complex. Metridium will compete for space with others of the same species and they can even flee from areas to new areas. I've been told by other observers that have seen them fight each others with tentacles and pushing.

    Anthopleura elegantissima reproduces by cloning and creates huge colonies that fight other colonies but sometimes the clones are closely related and they merge instead. That would be behavior that's a result of biochemical responses. I suspect that box jellies are no different.

    Slow growing corals like brain corals do much the same thing and fight other corals that try to grow over them or near them. Their stinging tentacles extend to the invading corals and they either drive them off or kill them.

    Sponges and Cnidarians are poorly understood. They're not economically important to most people and industries so there's been little interest and money for study. I'm sure that'll change in the future but I've never seen any recent comprehensive studies of them.

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