Turritopsis Nutricula an Immortal Jellyfish

The world's only immortal animal

The turritopsis nutricula species of jellyfish may be the only animal in the world to have truly discovered the fountain of youth.

Since it is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again, there may be no natural limit to its life span. Scientists say the hydrozoan jellyfish is the only known animal that can repeatedly turn back the hands of time and revert to its polyp state (its first stage of life).

Turritopsis nutricula

Turritopsis nutricula or immortal jellyfish is a hydrozoan whose medusa, or jellyfish, form can revert to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known case of a metazoan capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage.[2][3] It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation. Cell transdifferentiation is when the jellyfish "alters the differentiated state of the cell and transforms it into a new cell. In this process the medusa of the immortal jellyfish is transformed into the polyps of a new polyp colony. First, the umbrella reverts itself and then the tentacles and mesoglea get resorbed. The reverted medusa then attaches itself to the substrate by the end that had been at the opposite end of the umbrella and starts giving rise to new polyps to form the new colony. Theoretically, this process can go on infinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish immortal." [3][4] This cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it biologically immortal,[4] although in nature, most Turritopsis, like other medusae, are likely to succumb to predation or disease in the plankton stage, without reverting to the polyp form.[5]

Photo: "Immortal" Jellyfish Swarm World's Oceans

When stressed, the tiny jellyfish's cells transform, returning the animal to its youthful polyp state (inset). Attached to the seafloor or another hard surface, the jellyfish polyp can spawn hundreds of jellyfish that are genetically identical to it.

Collected from: Plate IV — Fig. 17

Turritopsis nutricula

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Photo: "Immortal" Jellyfish Swarm World's Oceans
Plate IV — Fig. 17
YouTube - Turritopsis nutricula

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Turritopsis nutricula (Immortal jellyfish)