Well our last Friday Smorgasbord of November features everything from fascinating to freaky to frightening and maybe something in between. Leading off our Friday tradition is an immortal jellyfish and how this creature could lead scientists to help prevent human aging. Jellyfish are pretty simple creatures with relatively short life cycles, but the Turritopsis dohrnii is a bit different. Most jellies have two main life stages — polyp and medusa. The medusa period is when they produce sperm and eggs to creat new polyps. Typically after this process, the medusa will perish. But with the Turritopsis dohrnii, the medusa falls to the ocean floor and sprouts stolons that eventually become a polyp. This is what fascinates Japanese marine biologist Shin Kubota, who wants to cure human aging by studying the inner workings of Turritopsis.
Now we get into the more frightening part of the post. There are many stories about invasive species and one creature plaguing the Potomic River basin is the northern snakehead. Known as “Frankenfish” or the “rattlesnake with fins,” this freakish fish is frustrating locals, but now there is a new message to deal with these invaders — eat them. Chefs are touting the Frankenfish as a delicacy due to its dense, meaty white flesh. The voracious predator came from Asia and will eat anything in its path, so if we can increase our appetite for this fish, we might be able to eat them out of the waterways. Sound familiar lionfish cevice fans?
Now we’re shifting to the freaky part of the post. We’ve seen robotic fish and fish mounted with lasers and this may be the next Dr. Evil moment as engineers have developed a robotic snake designed for underwater movement. Imagine a laser, camera, or other dastardly weapon attached to the HiBot ACM-R5, and you have all the makings for a movie on SyFy (move over Sharktapus). As you can see from the video, the robotic snake is pretty graceful. There something both mystical and freaky with this invention.
We’ve written about aquaponics before and are noticing a shift into smaller packages making the concept more approachable for the average person. This handy invention allows you to grow fresh produce and herbs in a closed-loop ecosystem that uses the nitrogen waste from the aquarium to fuel the plant growth. The simple aquarium holds around three gallons of water designed for a fish like the freshwater Betta splendens and can hold six small plants. With the size of this, it might be best for a herb garden or for those of you looking for “other” things to grow, you now have your built in entertainment (but you have to supply your own Oreos).
[via Seriously Fish]