Revealed: the mystery of stinging water

Revealed: the mystery of stinging water

The upside-down jellyfish Cassiopia xamachana. Credit: National Aquarium

People who have experienced stingy, itchy skin from warm coastal waters might be familiar with some of the theories about what causes it – including sea lice, severed jellyfish tentacles and anemones – but the truth has been an enduring puzzle.

Now, a multidisciplinary team of scientists has revealed the source: deceptively placid-looking upside-down jellyfish, Cassiopea xamachana, which pulse rhythmically in groups of hundreds to thousands of individuals at the bottom of shallow bays, lagoons and mangroves.


Published by Cosmos.

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