Feeds

Jellyfish: nature's quickest on the draw

Even faster than Rolf Harris

High performance access to file storage

Nematocysts - the tiny capsules delivered by a jellyfish stingThe sting of a jellyfish has been shown to be one of the fastest processes in the whole of biology. Using a super-fast camera technique German researchers have found it can fire off in just 700 nanoseconds.

The team, writing in Current Biology, calculates that the acceleration is equivalent to 5,410,000 times gravity. Its impact generates a pressure of seven Gigapascals, which is in the same range as a gunshot.

The stings arrive in the form of tiny capsules called nematocysts (pictured), which contain toxic compounds delivered through a spike. They are fired off for both defence and capturing prey by members of the Cnidaria phylum which includes jellyfish, anenomes and corals.

The elastic walls of nematocysts are key to the snap release. They are made of a stretchy collagen-based polymer and inflated to 15 Megapascals pressure by an ion-packed protein matrix.

The team says the spring from the potential energy stored in the wall is responsible for the incredible speed.

The new research rates the top speed of nematocyst release one hundred times faster than previously measured. In order to capture the process, the camera was run at a blistering 1,430,000 frames per second. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.