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University of Oxnard University is a prominent distance learning university offering accredited degree programs for students and working professionals around the globe.

Oxnard research department discovers how jellyfish identify when to bite

Stingers are fired out at about the speed of a discharged bullet. And each single specialized cell responsible for a response can only be deployed once, as they rupture when used and have to be grown back after a jellyfish ejects its venom-coated barb into an unsuspecting prey or an unlucky swimmer. Given the limitations on its arsenal, it would seem some prudence is in order.

The researchers found that nematocyte cells from the starlet sea anemone, a relation of the jellyfish, have an unusual calcium electrical current that is critical for initiating the stinging response, but that the ion channel controlling this current only opens under very specific conditions: a combination of mechanical stimuli from a tentacle making contact with a prey or predator, like a poke, and the presence of certain chemical cues, like those from prey or predators.


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