Do Immortal Jellyfish Really Live Forever?

At the Jellyfish Warehouse, we get a lot of questions about the Immortal Jellyfish, Turritopsis nutricula. We’ve also had the chance to keep these lovely creatures twice. So do these odd jellyfish live up to their name or are they a just a sting?

 

IMG_7690
Turritopsis dohrnii on the left, and Turritopsis nutricula on the right.

The Immortal Jellyfish is a group of jellyfish, with two species being of interest. Turritopsis nutricula, and Turritopsis dohrnii. The first species there is native to the Atlantic Ocean, whereas the latter is found in Japan. These jellies have earned their immortal title through their odd and fascinating life cycle. As a human, you probably started as a baby, and then progressed into a child, a teen and finally an adult. What if you could transform right back into an infant? Turritopsis can do just that! They curl up into a ball and transform back into their larval polyp stage. From there, they can stay as polyps or transform back into jellyfish.

life_cycle
This diagram shows the process of Turritopsis reverting back to the polyp stage.

So does this mean they are truly immortal? Well, scientists are not entirely sure how long these jellies can do this. So far, it seems like the answer is: indefinitely. These jellies can still die, however. If they are one-hit KO’ed, they will simply perish. The key is if they have been injured, but are able to escape. That injury is typically what initiates the process of reversing.

 

As scientists continue to study these enigmatic jellies, we
will begin to understand just how long they can live, and whether or not they can truly stop the clock.

 

You can buy your own pet jellyfish and jellyfish aquarium at our online store: Jellyfish Warehouse

 

Photo credits:

`http://i.imgur.com/DHafVdB.png

`http://www.reed.edu/biology/courses/BIO342/2011_syllabus/2011_websites/eric_van_baak_site/images/life_cycle.jpg

`http://a-z-animals.com/images/blog/immortal3.jpg

 

 

 

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