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"Jellyfish as food"



Description and Rationale

   The Philippines are beautiful islands surrounded by tropical waters. The waters provide a great amount of food all year long. But not only do the waters contain food, they also have harmful creatures such as the jellyfish. Jellyfish has been overpopulating and eating up the resources from the water in the Philippines. Jellyfish have thousand of microscopic nematocysts coating the tendrils, each nematocyst has a "trigger" (cnidocil) paired with a capsule containing a coiled stinging filament armed with exterior barbs. When the nematocyst touches another surface, the filament quickly unwinds and injects the toxin. Jellyfish stings can cause extreme pain and serious stings may cause anaphylaxis (a sudden, severe allergic reaction characterized by a sharp drop in blood pressure), resulting in death.

 How does the jellyfish affect on the ecosystem and its environment? Is it a predator of harmful, infective sea creatures or do they just eat up human food source? Are jellyfish overpopulating in the Philippines? Are jellyfish easy to be identified? Can jellyfish be helpful or useful in anyway?


 Might there be an easy way to utilize the jellyfish for food? In China, jellyfish food has been a tradition for generations. Using table salt, alum, and then desalting the jellyfish can produce a low-calorie “crunchy and crispy” meal. What are the reasons Filipinos don’t eat the jellyfish? Do they think it’s not possible to eat jellyfish because some have poison or do they not know how to cook it? If beneficial uses of the jellyfish as food are found, what would be the best way(s) to communicate the findings to the people?

The initial purpose of this project will be to research the biology and ecology of the jellyfish, through a search of the literature, internet, and interviews with people living near the waters. These findings will help to gather information about the jellyfish and how to reduce them in number. By showing native Filipinos how to cook Chinese traditional jellyfish food, the Filipinos may be able to use them as food.   

 The goal of this project is to find ways to use jellyfish as a food source like the Chinese and teach the people how to cook them. Hopefully, the Philippines will stop the jellyfish from overpopulating.


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Common Names and Synonyms


Aurelia Aurita is the scientific name for the saucer jellyfish. Jellyfish is the common name of a type of sea animal that biologists call a medusa. Jellyfish get their names from the jellylike material between the two layers of cells that make up the animal’s body. Other synonyms include Salabay (Philippines); Hepari (Korea); and Méduse (France).





Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Cnidaria (Stinging needles)

Class: Scyphozoa (Jellyfish)

Order: Semaeostomaeae (Flag mouth)

Family: Ulmaridae (Family of Jellyfish)

Genus: Aurelia (Saucer)

Species: Aurelia aurita (Saucer jelly)

Other species found in the genus Aurelia besides Aurelia aurita include Aurelia labiata and Aurelia limbat. But there are at least 13 species in the genus Aurelia that are still not described according to Dawson, a biologist in 2003.



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Morphology and Physical Description


 Jellyfish can be very small but some can be as big as the arctic jellyfish which is about 7feet (2.1 meters) in diameter. The jellyfish has a bell shape body which allows them to contract and expand, like an umbrella opening and closing. This propels them through the water.

A jellyfish does not have a skeleton, so they have two layers of cells that serve as a hydrostatic skeleton (form of skeletal structure that consists of layers of muscle around a fluid-filled body cavity) to support the fragile body wall and to help the jellyfish maintain buoyancy in the water. Also a jellyfish does not have a heart or a brain, but they can respond to stimuli such as light or order very quickly by touching another surface using a nervous system called the “nerve net”. Jellyfish usually move around in schools rather than individually. Most jellyfish have a transparent color, because around 94%-98% of its body is made of water.

Internally, the jellyfish have fewer organs in its body than other fishes which is also a reason why jellyfishes aren’t considered a fish.  The jellyfish does not have respiratory parts such as gills, lungs, or trachea. But since it is such a small organism, it can respire by diffusing oxygen from water through its thin membrane. Jellyfish have an incomplete digestive system, meaning that the mouth is used for both food intake and waste expulsion.




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Getting Food


Jellyfish are carnivores and passive drifters that feed on living or dead preys: small fish, eggs, zooplankton and other invertebrates that become caught in their tentacles. Jellyfish first stings a small sea creature which kills it and then preys are brought by tentacles into the cavity, called coelenterons, where it is digested.




Reproduction in jellyfish involves four different stages; jellyfish can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Jellyfish reproduce sexually in the first three stages, where the planula larva is like an egg when it is first hatched by exiting from the mouth or brood pouches of a jellyfish. The planula larva then looks for a shaded area and attaches themselves to the bottom forming polyps. Then these polyps divide and bud into young jellyfish called ephyra. Finally, in the last stage jellyfish reproduce asexually as the ephyra grow into adult medusa in just a few weeks.


Environmental Factors



Jellyfish live everywhere in the oceans. Some live very deep in the ocean and some, like the up-side-down jelly live nearer the surface. The up-side-down jellyfish has algae growing in its tentacles so it lives in shallow water since algae needs sunlight to grow. There are no competitions between jellyfish because there are plenty of foods. Jellyfish can’t cause diseases but they can cause harm by just touching another surface with its tentacles. Jellyfish can live in salt and fresh water.


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Origin and Distribution


No one knows where the jellyfish first originated because they can be found everywhere. Jellyfish are in the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and are common to the waters off California, Japan, the East Coast of the United States as well as Europe. Jellyfish are capable of withstanding a large flux of temperatures and salinities.


Importance to People



 Jellyfish are important to people in culinary uses and biotechnology. Jellyfish is food in countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Using table salt, alum, and then desalting the jellyfish can produce a low-calorie “crunchy and crispy” meal.

 Jellyfish also contain green fluorescent protein, which is a very useful tool in biology. The protein is used mainly for scientists studying in which tissues genes are expressed. Jellyfish are also harvested for their collagen, which can be used for a variety of scientific applications including the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints.

 Jellyfish could help the Philippines economically if only the people knew that jellyfish was a source of food and important chemical. By exporting jellyfish to countries that use them like China, Filipinos would be able to make some money.


Survivability and Endangered Status


Jellyfish are over populated in not only the Philippines but throughout the whole world. Even though they only live for three to six months, they reproduce in mass numbers in a small area. There are so many jellyfish in the Philippines that scientists have even tried to think of ways to get rid of them. There are too many different species of jellyfish that it is almost impossible for them to become extinct. Plus new kinds are being discovered all the time.



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Potential Solutions


Can Jellyfish be stopped from overpopulating? Jellyfish have been overpopulating in not only the Philippines but throughout the whole world. Many Filipino fishermen are trying to find ways to get rid of the unwanted creatures that gives hard times to the fishermen by eating up fish eggs and reducing the fish reproduction; destroying fishing nets and causing all the fish they caught to escape. Jellyfish has reduced many Filipino fishermen’s profit. If the Filipino fishermen don’t stop the rapid speed of jellyfish reproduction, soon it will be almost impossible for them to fish in the waters. Below are two ways jellyfish could be reduced. 

Possibility 1:Use Jellyfish as food(My Action step)

 One solution to reduce the overpopulated jellyfish is to eat them. In countries such as China and Thailand, jellyfish is a source of food since their ancestors. Using table salt, alum, and then desalting the jellyfish can produce a low-calorie “crunchy and crispy” meal.

Materials needed

 150g Jellyfish                                                                                                                     

 1pc. Cucumber

 3pc. Crab meat

 1 cup Sugar

 1 cup Vinegar

 1 cup Mustard

2~3 cups Water

 1/5 cup Soysauce

 1/10 Sesame Oil


 1. Wash jellyfish in clean water to reduce the saltiness.

2. Slice the jellyfish into long strips.

 3. Cut cucumber into thin pieces.

 4. Tear crab meat into thin pieces.

 5. Mix sugar, vinegar, water, soysauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl.

 6. Add jellyfish, cucumber and crab meat into the bowl.

 7. Add mustard to the jellyfish when ready to eat.



After making the jellyfish dish, I asked my driver if he knew any people who had family members that were fishermen. Fortunately, one of my driver’s best friends, who worked at the house next door, had brothers who were fishermen in Mindoro. I asked my driver and his friend to try the jellyfish dish. They enjoyed it, so I explained to them how to make it and my driver’s friend said he’d cook some for his brothers the next time he visited Mindoro. My action step was a success, because after finishing the plate of jellyfish, my driver’s friend asked if he could have more to take home.



1. Poor fishermen can easily catch jellyfish and use them as a food source without using a lot of money.

2. Jellyfish food is easy to make and delicious.


1. Jellyfish are hard to find in markets, we would have to catch them ourselves to eat them. 



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Possibility 2:Sell jellyfish for money


A second way to reduce the jellyfish is to catch and sell them. Jellyfish can be exported to countries that enjoy eating jellyfish such as China. They can also export it to scientist groups for their experiment since jellyfish contain green fluorescent protein.


1. Poor fishermen can make money since jellyfish are easy to catch.


1. The fishermen would have to find a way to export the jellyfish.

2. It would take a lot of money to export the jellyfish using a large shi


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Possibility 3


replace this with your information


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Betin, Kyle. “Jellyfish Up Close.” danenet.wicip.org. 10 April 2008.


Hilado, Rosalie. Personel Interview. 10 April 2008.

Hiler, Ian. “How do jellyfish reproduce?” SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. 11 April

2008. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-do-jellyfish-reproduc

“Jellyfish.” ThinkQuest.org. 12 April 2008.


“Jellyfish.” Wikipedia.org. 11 April 2008


“Jellyfish dish.” Miznet.daum.net.  May 2 2008.


Kite, Patricia. “Jellyfish” ThinkQuest.org. 12 April 2008.


“Moon Jellyfish.” Wikipedia.org. 11 April 2008


Nielsen, John. “Jellyfish take over an over-fished area.” npr.org. 10April 2008.




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