Jellies: Imagine Another World -- without bones or brains

April 13, 2011 9:06:52 AM PDT
Some deep-sea creatures are about to surface at Shedd Aquarium. Jellies: Imagine Another World opens Friday.

The exhibit at Shedd Aquarium in downtown Chicago includes ten different species of jellies. Yep, jellies or sea jellies. But never jelly fish.

"Actually, jellies are not a fish at all. They are actually an invertebrate and part of a group called Cnidarians," Malissa Smith, aquarist at Shedd. In very simple terms, that means jellies have no blood, no brains and no bones. Jellies seem to float through life without a care in the world.

"It's about the world jellies live in. Their anatomy, their reproduction. Just what jellies are and how people should not fear them. They are just animals out there and living in their world," Mark Schick, collection manager of special exhibits. "They sting but they aren't coming after you on purpose. That's how they catch their food."

They move through their water world floating like parachute- only up instead of down. Theirs is a ballet of many different colors and movements.

"Jellies are very unique and mesmerizing animals. Their arms and tentacles are very flowing and they move through the ocean current," Smith said.

"Jellies are ninety five percent water. No bones and they have a very fluid movement in their naturalized habitat," Schick.

Jellies don't really swim; they pulse and float with the current and can travel up to hundreds of miles. And they've survived for more than 500 million years- without brains. And they dont' need them.

"They're very good at eating and breeding. That's what they do," Schick said.

The exhibit runs through Memorial Day 2012. Find out how to get tickets at