Immortal Jellyfish Lifespan: Average Life Expectancy and More!

The everlasting jellyfish is not concealing anything under this evocative moniker. This invertebrate possesses the capacity to live indefinitely. Unfortunately, there isn’t actually an average life expectancy because predation is a serious possibility. The sole species of its type, the immortal jellyfish is a striking but small creature with the potential for endless life. To find out more about this amazing creature and to find out how these jellyfish are able to live forever, keep reading.

History of the Immortal Jellyfish

The scientific term for immortal jellyfish is Turritopsis dohrnii, and they were first identified in the early 1980s. The first account of this species of jellyfish dates back to 1883, or almost a century ago. Measuring barely 4.5 millimeters in length, these jellyfish are marginally smaller than a quarter of an inch. They do have small tentacles, though they seem to differ depending on the area. With eight tenacles on some, and up to ninety on others!

Even though this species was initially discovered in the Mediterranean Sea, immortal jellyfish are now found in all of the world’s waters. They may have a large geographic range since they like to hitchhike on boats and ships. They are actually fairly sensitive creatures, despite their tough exterior. They need to be given a meal of chopped brine shrimp eggs every day in order to maintain them in a live colony for scientific purposes.

Life Cycle of an Immortal Jellyfish

There are two types of jellyfish that are commonly found: medusa and polyp forms. The form we are most familiar with is the medusa form, which is a bell-shaped, free-floating structure. The polyp form has a monstrous appearance. Through asexual reproduction via segmentation, these polyps give rise to the medusa form; the intermediate stage is known as ephyra. Certain species reproduce sexually, releasing eggs and sperm from the mature medusa. Planula, the fertilized eggs, develop colonies in order to produce additional medusae.

The eternal jellyfish has slightly different behavior. They have the ability to effectively bypass some stages of the aging process and return to a “earlier” form, which is first a basic bundle of tissues and subsequently a juvenile polyp. The life cycle can proceed from here: polyp to immature medusa to planula that become medusas.

Stress allows them to bypass the aging process. This kind of stress may result from malnourishment, environmental shifts, or injury. The stressor that first alerted the species’ discoverers to the fact that something unusual was happening with these jellyfish was starvation. We refer to this procedure as “transdifferentiation.” It is possible for previously differentiated cells to revert to their undifferentiated state, much like stem cells. After then, that cell differentiates into a distinct kind of cell. Differentiated cells, like skin and muscle cells, have specialized roles in the body.

It appears possible to change back and forth between a polyp and a medusa an endless number of times. Reversion occurred up to ten times in the two-year span in the captive colony. This may continue indefinitely in the wild, which lends credence to the moniker “immortal jellyfish.”

Immortal Jellyfish Predators

It’s true that the eternal jellyfish is not immune to death. Like anything else in the ocean, these jellyfish can make great food for scavengers.

Numerous predators have the ability to take their lives, including sharks, anemones, and other jellyfish. Before the immortal jellyfish have an opportunity to discover their special foreverness, these predators can easily consume entire colonies of them.

What Do Immortal Jellyfish Eat?

These jellyfish are tiny, but they have a wide variety of diets. Plankton, which are microscopic sea creatures that drift, is the apparent food of choice for somebody their size. Even more astonishingly, fish eggs and tiny mollusks can be consumed by eternal jellyfish. The jellyfish goes back to being a polyp when food becomes limited. With the help of its tentacles, this polyp stage feeds like an anemone, snatching passing microscopic creatures and floating water trash.

Can Humans Become Immortal Due to Immortal Jellyfish?

It’s doubtful that this amazing jellyfish specimen will hold the answer to human immortality, though it’s not completely out of the question. Being eternal comes with a lot of complications. We still don’t fully understand the complexity of jellyfish or even human aging.

The preservation of the telomeres, or ends of the chromosomes, is one of the reasons this kind of jellyfish is eternal. These telomeres shield the chromosome in many species, including humans, but they shorten with each cycle of cellular replication. This is among the mechanisms that lead to aging.

We can get understanding of other, more complex issues by delving deeper into the life of the immortal jellyfish and exploring its potential. Although human immortality may not be achievable, scientists are more focused on finding solutions to some of the problems associated with aging. This can include conditions like Parkinson’s and dementia. Our understanding of other living forms expands our understanding of our own.