A photographer fascinated by jellyfish took “Mysterious Life Forms | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A photographer fascinated by jellyfish took “Mysterious Life Forms

Jellyfish were born about 500 million years ago, and there are more than 3,000 species of jellyfish. There is a reason for their mysterious and beautiful appearance. Let's take a peek into the world of jellyfish, which will soothe you just by looking at them!

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Northern Lamprey Jellyfish (Lepidoptera: Lepidoptera)

Known as the world’s largest jellyfish, individuals with umbrellas 2 meters in diameter and tentacles over 30 meters long have been observed. It is not uncommon for fish to use jellyfish as a front, as is the case with the huddled hokaakeana goby.

Jellyfish are now popular in aquariums throughout Japan, and since their birth about 500 million years ago, there have been more than 3,000 species known to date. Jellyfish, like sea anemones and other sea anemones, are members of the cnidarian phylum.

On the other hand, the horseshoe jellyfish, collectively called “comb jellyfish,” is classified as a comb animal, which has a row of comb plates on its body surface, even though it has the word “jellyfish” in its name. Even if the family and genus are known, the exact species cannot be determined without DNA analysis in many cases. In some cases, jellyfish exhibited at aquariums are actually new species, and their exact ecology is still unknown.

Photographer Hiroya Minakuchi, who was fascinated by these mysterious jellyfish, tells his story.

Every summer in Alaska, I would visit a school of water jellyfish, which is what got me hooked on photographing jellyfish.

As I put on my diving suit and dove underwater, I felt the soft, jelly-like bodies of the jellyfish touching my face. Mizugae enjoy this kind of contact because they do not have strong poison. It was a fantastic sight to see the light coming from the sea surface pass through the jellyfish’s body, giving it a jade color.

Jellyfish show various expressions depending on the way the light shines on them. Depending on the species, I sometimes photograph them from underwater, but if I scoop them up, place them in the tank, and shine a light on them, I can capture details that were not visible underwater.

Floating about, these creatures can be dangerous when approached. Many people are fascinated by these mysterious and beautiful creatures.

A species of octopus jellyfish

Since they have zooxanthellae, a type of algae, living symbiotically inside their bodies, they swim near the water’s surface during the day to photosynthesize, and after sunset, they drift quietly near the bottom of the sea.

A species of octopus jellyfish

A species of the jellyfish genus

The genus Mysida is the most common, with 21 species identified worldwide, and can be found in seas and aquariums throughout Japan.

1 species of the jellyfish genus

Red jellyfish

A species of jellyfish commonly found in the seas around Japan. It is characterized by its brown stripe pattern, which differs from one individual to another. It is highly toxic and should not be approached.

Red jellyfish

A species of jellyfish of the genus Ctenophora (upper right)
In 2008, the biologist Osamu Shimomura was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery and development of green fluorescent protein.
A. longicornis (upper left)
They are found from central Honshu to the coast of Kyushu in Japan. Although nocturnal jellyfish stay still during the day, their tentacles are highly poisonous and should not be touched.
A species of the family Rhinoceros jellyfish (center)
When moving through the water by moving their comb plates, a characteristic of comb animals, the fine cilia reflect light, giving off a prism-like glow.
A species of the genus Sea Cop (lower right)
The diameter of the bowl-shaped umbrella is about 2 cm. Multiple species are said to exist in the seas around Japan. Jellyfish fleas parasitize the top of the umbrella and use it as a vehicle.
Bateikurage (lower left)
This jellyfish has a rounded body with several protrusions, which appear horseshoe-shaped from the front. When startled, the gelatinous body temporarily turns white.

A species of jellyfish in the genus Cyclostomus (upper right) A species of jellyfish in the family Ctenophoridae (upper left) A species of jellyfish in the genus Sea Slug (center) A species of jellyfish in the genus Sea Cop (lower right) A Batheikurage (lower left)

The World’s Most Beautiful Jellyfish Pictorial Book: Mysterious Ecology Floating Gracefully in the Sea, edited by Hiroya Mizuguchi and Sho Toshino, published by Seibundo Shinkosha, is now on sale.

From the May 20 and 27, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
  • Photographed by (A species of jellyfish in the genus Sea Cop, Bathyptera)

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