Video by Smarter Every Day
Imagine being stabbed by a hypodermic needle that pumps a painful venom into your body once it penetrates your skin. Now, imagine being stabbed by a countless number of these, all on a microscopic level.
That’s what a new video describes a jellyfish sting as, and they have the footage to prove it.
A video posted on the channel “Smarter Every Day,” run by rocket scientist and mechanical engineer Destin Sandlin, has captured a close-up video of the process. Teaming up with James Cook University professor and toxinologist Jamie Seymour, the duo equipped a high-speed camera to a microscope and placed a sea anemone tentacle — which possesses the same mechanism — underneath; triggering the sting with two leads from a 9-volt battery.
Once activated, several needle-like projections, called nematocysts, shoot out from the tentacles in a lightning-fast reaction time of 11 milliseconds. Venom is delivered shortly later.
“Think of [the nematocyst] like a garden hose under no pressure,” Seymour explains in the video. “…when you apply pressure to, the whole thing straightens out.”
If watching the video has made you a bit more fearful of the blob-like creatures, Sandlin sympathizes. “I hope I didn’t ruin the beach for you,” he jokes.