Lobsters Consume Jellyfish Using Well-Wrapped Feces

Posted: Aug 26 2016, 1:28pm CDT | by , Updated: Aug 26 2016, 1:41pm CDT , in Latest Science News


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Lobsters Consume Jellyfish Using Well-Wrapped Feces
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  • The Presence of Feces lets Lobsters consume Jellyfish Parts without incurring any Damage

It looks like the presence of feces that are well-wrapped lets lobsters consume jellyfish parts especially stingers without incurring any damage in any way whatsoever.

Lobsters are capable of gobbling up jellyfish without getting stung by their poisonous stingers. This is actually due to a few changes that have made the act possible without any consequences.

Researchers examined lobster feces and discovered that they wrap the stingers of jellyfish in stuff that allows them to consume them without the ensuing suffering. Lobsters undergo a metamorphosis before they reach the red-shelled stage where they become ideal food for fine dining.

The nutritional needs of lobsters had remained a mystery up until now. Farmed lobsters are often fed sardines. In the future, synthetic food may get made especially and specifically for the lobsters.

The intestines of lobsters contain chitin, which is a hard shell and found on their exterior surfaces. This chitin is the reason the jellyfish stingers do not harm the lobsters in any way.

Yet the mid gut of the lobster remains exposed to the stingers. So, the question here is: what gives? Lobster larvae and jellyfish were raised in a lab setting.

Empty circles are the nematocysts, or stinging cells, of jellyfish that have been packed together and wrapped tightly into packages of feces in the beginning of the lobster's digestive tract. The membrane, which can be seen extending off to the right side of the image, is a mechanical adaptation to prevent lobsters from being killed by their venomous food. CREDIT: Image by Kaori Wakabayashi of Hiroshima University, originally published in Plankton and Benthos Research.

The feces of the lobsters were sucked via syringes and examined after the lobsters had a meal of sea nettles. The feces were in the form of pellets that were wrapped in a peritrophic membrane.

This membrane was the reason why lobsters remained internally protected from the venomous stingers of the jellyfish. As for the larvae, they prefer a liquid diet.

This is of key importance in designing an artificial diet source for them in the times to come. Thus this much is clear that in reality the lobsters are in no way immune to jellyfish stingers. It is in the complex process of folding their feces that they manage to escape the torture of the stingers.

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