Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Hitchhikers guide to the ocean


This is odd. Brittle stars latch on to jellyfish and roam the seas with them? It may be a dispersal or a feeding strategy, but I’m just going to pretend it’s wanderlust.

ophiuroids_on_jelly

Comments

  1. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin says the Jellyfishys are jealous of the Nautilus. Failing to grow a groovy shell, they collect seemingly-interlocking parts with the intention of fitting them together like tiles in a MC Escher woodcut, to form a covering.

    If the Jellyfishys collect too much, they become top-heavy, frequently flipping over and going tentacles-up. This is not a sustainable posture, and the only hope for the poor Jellyfishy is its thrashing about knocks sufficient shell-parts off so it’s no longer too top-heavy and self-rights before it becomes too exhausted. When this happens near the surface, the thrashing tentacles can be seen waving about in the air. That is said to have been mistaken for a mermaid’s seductive gesturing by desperate becalmed sailors of old, leading to a number of very surprised Brittle Stars…

  2. Becca Stareyes says

    Now I want a children’s fantasy book about the adventures of a group of brittle stars who ride around the ocean on a jellyfish. Vertebrates are vastly over-represented as children’s book characters, and we can teach children about all the different animals that live under the sea.