Featured Image Credit: Kamo Aquarium
By Emily Persico
In Japan’s Pacific Ocean, jellyfish were a-blooming. Six-foot-long, 450 pound monsters washed nearshore after heavy rains in China and unnatural loads of nutrients that encouraged their growth. Luckily, though, the people of Japan find jellies to be quite the delicacy.
When they’re not enjoying jelly on their plate or avoiding its deathly sting in the ocean, people in Japan can visit the world’s largest exhibition of them in the world, right in the northern city of Tsuruoka.
The Kamo Aquarium is home to 60 different varieties of jelly – a mere 2 percent of the total 3000 species of jellyfish around the world, but still quite a feat for any aquarium. The aquarium’s director, Kazuya Okuizumi, is committed to growing the collection.
“My next step is to look for deep-sea jellyfish that will be very difficult to take care of,” he says. “That is what I am aiming for.”
Meanwhile, his staff continues to deliver educational workshops every day, teaching aquarium-goers about jellyfish diet (carnivorous) and breeding (not very sexy).
Jellyfish have been around for over 650 million years, making them the oldest species on earth with multiple organs. Their snake-like tentacles have earned all adult-aged jellies the name “medusa.”
“I think they’re beautiful,” says one aquarium-goer. “To me, it kind of looks like they’re dancing in space.”
The Kamo Aquarium was able to obtain most of its jellyfish through backyard boat trips, but the crew is getting ready to dive deeper into an ocean of mysterious things.