Moon jellyfish can rearrange their limbs after injury

Moon Jellyfish Can Rearrange Their Limbs After Injury

Animals have learned to heal themselves and therefore, survive in different ways, whether it's by forming scars over wounds or regenerating missing parts.

A recent study reveals the surprising mechanism young moon jellyfish use to function after losing one or more limbs—it rearranges the remaining appendages until the body becomes symmetrical again.

The team expected the creature to behave like its similar sea-dwelling neighbor, the hydra, by simply regrowing the lost limbs.

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Moon jellyfish can rearrange their limbs after injury
Moon Jellyfish are illuminated by coloured lights at the Beijing Aquarium on May 30, 2012. The aquarium is the largest in China and shaped like a huge conch shell. State media named it a 'Beijing civilized Tourist Scenic Spot' and it houses more than 1,000 marine species and freshwater fish. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)
Mature Moon Jellyfish float at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on April 26, 2012.The Aquarium features a collection of over 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species. It focuses on the Pacific Ocean in three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.The non-profit Aquarium sees 1.5 million visitors a year and has a total staff of over 900 people including more than 300 employees and about 650 volunteers.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)
SEAHOUSES, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: A Moon jellyfish swims beneath the waters of Inner Farne on June 26, 2011 at the Farne Islands, England. The Farne Islands, which are run by the National Trust, are situated two to three miles off the Northumberland coastline. The archipeligo of 16-28 separate islands (depending on the tide) make the summer home to approximately 100,000 pairs of breeding seabirds including around 36,000 Puffins, 32,000 Guillemots and 2,000 pairs of Arctic Terns. The species of birds which nest in internationally important numbers include Shag, Sandwich Tern and Arctic Tern. The coastline around The Farnes are also the breeding ground to one of Europe's largest Grey Seal colonies with around 4,000 adults giving birth to 1500 pups every year. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A miniature Moon Jellyfish glows at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on April 26, 2012.The Aquarium features a collection of over 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species. It focuses on the Pacific Ocean in three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.The non-profit Aquarium sees 1.5 million visitors a year and has a total staff of over 900 people including more than 300 employees and about 650 volunteers.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)
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But when one of the researchers cut off some of its arms, they noticed that instead of replacing the missing tissue, the jellyfishshifted the other arms evenly around the body to compensate.

Because the same reaction happened regardless of the number of limbs that were removed, they termed the process symmetrization.

The scientists determined that when the creature gets injured, the muscles naturally flex and relax through the water which then causes the arms to get rearranged.

Symmetry is apparently key to the jellyfish's survival because it allows them to swim and maintain access to food.
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