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Ctenophora as here Bolinopsis ashleyi are named after the rib-like protruding vascular systems, on which platelets are lined up to move. (Photo: Richard Herrmann / Visuals Unlimited)

Rippenquallen wie hier Bolinopsis ashleyi sind benannt nach den rippenartig vorspringenden Gefäßsystemen, auf denen Plättchen zur Fortbewegung aufgereiht sind. (Foto: Richard Herrmann/Visuals Unlimited)

Ctenophora as here Bolinopsis ashleyi are named after the rib-like protruding vascular systems, on which platelets are lined up to move. (Photo: Richard Herrmann / Visuals Unlimited)

Venus Belt, Sea Tomato, Fire Roller - just as beautiful, curious and dangerous as their name sounds, is the world of jellyfish. Perfectly symmetrical and colorful, they glide through the oceans, but their poison can be deadly. The band "Jellyfish. The fascination of a misunderstood life form "leaves one astonished.

Jellyfish have been inhabiting the oceans for 500 million years and are still under research. It has long been puzzled: are they animal or plant? Where is her head? How do you actually move away? A detailed overview of the state of knowledge can be found in the book by Lisa-ann Gershwin. Why jellyfish are considered as animals, although they have mostly neither brain nor heart, explains it in the same way as their clever methods of moving and reproducing.

Like in the science fiction novel

Entertaining and informative, the biologist spans the spectrum from the extraordinary anatomy of the jellyfish, through their life cycles, to the benefits and risks emanating from them. It reads amazing as in the science fiction novel: It is about light flashes and slime attacks to protect against enemies, clones and the infinite life. In addition to articles on the main topics are found in each chapter, a selection of profiles to various jellyfish and their special features and large-format images. A glossary at the end of the book explains the most important technical terms around the cnidarians.

Human and jellyfish

Why the jellyfish is not dismissed as a glaring plankton, but should be further explored, as Gershwin repeatedly refers to ecological, economic and scientific facts. Thus, the "jellyfish blossom", the mass occurrence of dense swarms, changes the ecosystems. Some species harm fishing because they feed on fish spawn and paralyze power plants when they clog intake pipes. On the other hand, human beings can take a look at things like the ability to generate light or to move through water with the help of pressure build-up. Looking at jellyfish is worth a look, not only, but also because they are so beautiful.

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Lisa-ann Gershwin
jellyfish
From the fascination of a misunderstood life form
Delius Klasing publishing house "Editon Delius"
Bielefeld 2017, € 29.90

© science.de - Cathrin Siegler
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