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What’s Source of ‘Stinging Water’? Jellyfish Release Toxic Mucus

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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2020 (HealthDay Information) — The mystery of “stinging h2o” has been solved, experts say.

Stinging h2o is the seawater near and about upside-down jellyfish (Cassiopea) — and swimmers can get stinging, itchy pores and skin when submerged in it, even if they have no direct get in touch with with the creatures on their own.

But it wasn’t obvious in the past if the jellyfish were to blame for this soreness, because numerous other attainable brings about experienced been suggested, which includes severed jellyfish tentacles, “sea lice,” anemones and other stinging maritime animals.

In this new examine, researchers concluded that stinging h2o is brought on by toxin-crammed mucus that the jellyfish launch into the h2o. The mucus incorporates gyrating balls of stinging cells named cassiosomes.

“This discovery was equally a surprise and a very long-awaited resolution to the mystery of stinging h2o,” mentioned examine creator Cheryl Ames, a analysis affiliate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Normal Heritage in Washington, D.C., and an affiliate professor at Tohoku College in Japan.

“We can now enable swimmers know that stinging h2o is brought on by upside-down jellyfish, despite their general status as a gentle stinger,” Ames mentioned in a Smithsonian information launch.

The examine — by experts at the Smithsonian, the College of Kansas and the U.S. Naval Analysis Laboratory — was posted Feb. 13 in the journal Nature Communications Biology.

Experts suspect the toxin-crammed mucus may perhaps be an important section of the upside-down jellyfish’s feeding approach. Photosynthetic algae that dwell inside of jellyfish give most of their dietary needs, but they most likely need to nutritional supplement their food plan when photosynthesis slows, they mentioned.

The harmful mucus seems to incapacitate nearby creatures to give a commonly out there supply of foods for the jellyfish, which is commonly discovered in quiet waters this kind of as lagoons and mangrove forests.

Review co-creator Allen Collins is a zoologist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He mentioned the discovery was enjoyable because Cassiopea jellyfish have been identified for much more than 200 yrs, but cassiosomes were even now unknown.

“They are not the most venomous critters, but there is a human wellness effect,” Collins mentioned in the launch. “We realized that the h2o gets stingy, but no a single experienced invested the time to determine out precisely how it takes place.”

The crew has by now recognized cassiosomes in four other carefully similar jellyfish species and strategies to uncover out if other species also have them.

— Robert Preidt

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Source: Smithsonian, information launch, Feb. 13, 2020

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