Imagine a creature older than dinosaurs themselves, with lips pulled back in an endless scream, trailed by a ghoulish bunch of tentacles laced with poison. You guessed it, cnidarians, more commonly known as jellyfish.

Before I tell you more about these graceful aliens of the sea, I would like you to first know that there are approximately 50 million jellyfish stings each year, which equates to around 411,000 stings each day, 17,000 stings per hour or 4-5 stings every second.

So, by the time you have read this sentence (depending on how quickly you read) 105 people across the world will have been stung by a jellyfish. I would like you to keep that in mind while you read this blog.

Did you know that jellyfish are older than dinosaurs? This means that they have been pulsing through Earth’s waters for at least 600 million years! So, by my calculations, if all of the time that jellyfish have lived on Earth was compressed into the average human’s lifespan, eighty-years (three billion heartbeats!), humans would only appear on the final 10 days. So, we humans would only appear to witness those final gasping breaths before the final wave of blackness swooped over.

Jellyfish have made it through five mass extinctions! Will they make it through the sixth mass extinction we’re headed for? Jellyfish are survivors.

Now I’m not going to bore you with facts about the jellyfish life cycle and their predators and so forth because if I am honest with myself, I know it won’t affect you guys in the long run and the whole point of this blog is to make an impact, right?

So, I’ll start off with a few things I’d like for you to keep in mind, so you’ll understand a bit of what I’m babbling on about…

Jellyfish are stronger than we are. Full stop. No questions about it.

They have one of the fastest reactions in the animal kingdom and in just 700 billionths of a second they can sting you with their dangerous venom.

They can also live past their own death and if you cut a jellyfish in half it can regenerate and turn into two jellies – creepy.

Here’s another fact for you, there are as many as 10,000 species of jellyfish. Six of which are floating around English shores… be careful. 36 species are deadly box jellyfish which have up to 24 eyes that can detect colour. Also, did you know that some species don’t even use venom to kill their prey?

Their muscles contract rhythmically, causing their umbrella (a gelatinous circle above their tentacles that surrounds their mouth) to pulse allowing them to swim as quick as Olympic swimmers.

While you and I eat stir fries and cake, jellyfish eat fish, crustaceans, zooplankton, fish eggs and larvae. Their predators include ocean sun fish and turtles.

If you’re still reading, around about 430 people have now been stung.

The thing about jellyfish is… THEY ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD! Did you know that? Probably not? I sure know that I didn’t. People pay more attention to other things like the Six Nations and how the price of their alcohol has suddenly shot up, meanwhile out in the waters jellyfish ‘smacks’ as we call them are on the rise.

The problem is that we over fish. We are taking too many fish out of the oceans and pressing them into breaded sticks and patties and filling our supermarket shelves with gleaming slick flesh. I know it sounds disgusting when I put it like that, but the reality of this situation needs to sink in.

The thing about jellyfish is that they love a warm ocean. The chemicals we pump into our seas don’t effect the jellyfish one bit as they carry all the oxygen they need in their unique organ system.

However, the ‘smacks’ are getting so large and out of control that they are stealing food from animals you would never expect. They are taking food supplies from penguins in Antarctica and one biologist believes that one day they may even starve wales to extinction. Its strange to think, isn’t it? A creature so small and what appears to be so harmless can starve a creature a thousand times bigger than itself. This is how bad the situation is getting. Worryingly, not many people seem to know or even care until they are directly affected, which they soon will be.

I don’t blame you for not caring because when was the last time you saw jellyfish on TV or David Attenborough talking about this significant problem? The thing is you haven’t. I think it is time that we started educating ourselves and others about these issues before we lose things that we never thought were important to us.

Quite simply, jellyfish are killing ecosystems.

Oh, and again back to the jelly fish stings, by now 1,065 people will have been stung.

Nonetheless, the purpose of this blog isn’t to turn you against jellyfish because at the end of the day who is warming our oceans? Us. Who is over-fishing jellyfish predators? Us. Whose fault is all of this? Ours. You see, the thing about humans is that we seem to destroy everything that we touch and we think that we can’t help it. But really we’re just too lazy to deal with the problems we have caused.

I’m sure you all know that we only have one more chance to save our planet before we ruin it once and for all so don’t let this opportunity slip.

By Daisy S