Hidden in the abyssal depths of our planet’s oceans lies Darth Vader jellyfish, a remarkable and elusive species. It shows a world of extraordinary adaptations and evolution. Let’s join us on a journey into the hidden wonders of the deep, join us in unveiling some interesting facts about one of the ocean’s most captivating inhabitants.
1. They’re not jellyfish
Meet the enigmatic sea dweller, Bathykorus bouilloni, affectionately dubbed the “Darth Vader jellyfish” owing to its striking similarity to the iconic Star Wars character’s helmet. However, don’t be fooled by its name – this fascinating creature is no ordinary jellyfish. Belonging to the family of hydrozoans, it shares its lineage with other marine wonders like the by-the-wind sailor, blue button, and Portuguese man o’ war.
The Darth Vader jellyfish is a tiny species, measuring less than an inch in diameter. It has a see-through body with a light blue shade. The species stands as the only member in the monotypic genus Bathykorus. The name of this genus describes the look and home of this species. Derived from the Greek words “bathy” for “deep” and “korus” for “helmet.”
The Darth Vader jellyfish boasts a fascinating feature with its majestic appendages. Rising from the apex of its ethereal cap, 4 primary tentacles gracefully stretch outward, elegantly hovering above the rim during its hunting. In perfect harmony, the jellyfish also possesses four secondary tentacles adorned with statocysts, these sensory wonders situated along the rim. The secondary tentacles play a crucial role in maintaining the jellyfish’s balance as it glides through the depths of the mystical ocean.
At the heart of the oral surface lies the central circular mouth, serving as the entrance to a remarkable gastric chamber. This chamber, in a fascinating pattern, gives rise to a series of 12 gastric pouches, thoughtfully arranged in groups of three within each quadrant.
The Arctic Ocean is home to this fascinating creature. It has chosen its habitat in the vast expanses of the deep sea, finding solace in the icy waters near Greenland and the northern reaches of Canada.
Within this chilling domain, its preferred residence lies nestled between 800 and 2,500 meters beneath the waves. Yet, it appears to flourish most abundantly at the heart of this range, occupying depths from 1,400 to 2,000 meters.
3. They swim in groups
These Darth Vader jellyfish are known for swimming in blooms, which are large swarms consisting of hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. The creation of these mesmerizing spectacles is a result of a delicate interplay of diverse elements, including ocean currents, nutrient levels, seasonal changes, temperature fluctuations, prey abundance, oxygen concentrations, and the warm embrace of sunlight.
4. Darth Vader jellyfish Diet
This jellyfish is a hydrozoan species belonging to the order Narcomedusae, a type of gelatinous organism. Although the specific intricacies of its diet remain a mystery, its fellow narcomedusae are renowned for eating a diverse array of gelatinous delicacies, ranging from plankton and fish eggs to the occasional feast of fellow jellyfish.
To hunt prey, these Darth Vader jellyfish use their tentacles adorned with stinging cells filled with a potent venom. Their unique approach involves positioning their tentacles at a perfect right angle to their swimming direction, effectively enveloping a broader expanse. Once they ensnare their prey, they skillfully curve the tentacles inward and deftly coil them toward their mouths to consume them.
The predators of these species are still unknown.
Darth Vader jellyfish exhibit an intriguing ability to reproduce throughout the year, subject to the nuances of their reproductive cycle. However, this phenomenon remains heavily influenced by various factors like ever-changing environmental conditions and the abundance of food sources.
The life cycle of these species begins with the males and females releasing eggs and sperm into the vast expanse of the ocean. Following fertilization and hatching, a mesmerizing metamorphosis unfolds, propelling them into the enchanting realm of planula – a larval stage.
As the planulae embark on their aquatic journey, they gracefully traverse the currents until they chance upon the perfect landing spot – often a rocky outcrop – to secure their place. Then, they go through metamorphosis and undergo profound transformations to become a complete individual. The lifespan of Darth Vader jellyfish is quite short, spanning merely 2 to 6 months on average.
There is so much about the Darth Vader jellyfish that scientists don’t know. Living at great depths, these species are still a mystery.