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queen jelly — Fotopedia
These jellies have a serene aspect. They might be space stations moving in slow motion--completely adapted and self-contained. They are strange, alien, effortless and beautiful.
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Jellyfish

Jellyfish or jellies are the major non-polyp form of individuals of the phylum Cnidaria. They are typified as free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. The bell can pulsate for locomotion, while stinging tentacles can be used to capture prey.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. A few jellyfish inhabit freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are common in coastal zones worldwide. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.

The English popular name jellyfish has been in use since 1796. It has traditionally also been applied to other animals sharing a superficial resemblance, for example ctenophores (members from another phylum of common, gelatinous and generally transparent or translucent, free-swimming planktonic carnivores now known as comb jellies) were included as "jellyfishes". Even some scientists include the phylum ctenophora when they are referring to jellyfish. Other scientists prefer to use the more all-encompassing term gelatinous zooplankton, when referring to these, together with other soft-bodied animals in the water column.

As jellyfish are not vertebrates, let alone true fish, the word jellyfish is considered by some to be a misnomer. Public aquariums may use the terms jellies or sea jellies instead. Indeed, it may be said that the term "jellies" has become more popular than "jellyfish". In scientific literature, "jelly" and "jellyfish" are often used interchangeably. Some sources may use the term "jelly" to refer to organisms in this taxon, as "jellyfish" may be considered inappropriate.


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Aquatic locomotion

Aquatic locomotion is biologically propelled motion through a liquid medium. The simplest propulsive systems are composed of cilia and flagella. Swimming has evolved a number of times in a range of organisms including arthropods, fish and molluscs.


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Mastigias

Mastigias is a genus of true jellyfish in the family Mastigiidae. It contains seven described species. Members of this genus are found widely in coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific, including saline lakes of Palau (e.g., Jellyfish Lake), but there are also records from the West Atlantic at Florida and Puerto Rico. The West Atlantic records are most likely the result of accidental introductions by humans.

According to the World Register of Marine Species, this genus includes seven species:


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Animal locomotion

Animal locomotion, which is the act of self-propulsion by an animal, has many manifestations, including running, swimming, jumping and flying. Animals move for a variety of reasons, such as to find food, a mate, or a suitable microhabitat, and to escape predators. For many animals the ability to move is essential to survival and, as a result, selective pressures have shaped the locomotion methods and mechanisms employed by moving organisms. For example, migratory animals that travel vast distances (such as the Arctic Tern) typically have a locomotion mechanism that costs very little energy per unit distance, whereas non-migratory animals that must frequently move quickly to escape predators (such as frogs) are likely to have costly but very fast locomotion. The study of animal locomotion is typically considered to be a sub-field of biomechanics.

Locomotion requires energy to overcome friction, drag, inertia, and gravity, though in many circumstances some of these factors are negligible. In terrestrial environments gravity must be overcome, though the drag of air is much less of an issue. In aqueous environments however, friction (or drag) becomes the major challenge, with gravity being less of a concern. Although animals with natural buoyancy need not expend much energy maintaining vertical position, some will naturally sink and must expend energy to remain afloat. Drag may also present a problem in flight, and the aerodynamically efficient body shapes of birds highlight this point. Flight presents a different problem from movement in water however, as there is no way for a living organism to have lower density than air. Limbless organisms moving on land must often contend with surface friction, but do not usually need to expend significant energy to counteract gravity.