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they Are little more than water. Does not contain carbohydrates or fats or proteins. Even so, the medusa común (Aurelia aurita) is eaten by the sea predators. Fish, crustaceans, sea anemones and even corals and turtles and is considered as a dish appetizing.

why are all these predators bother eating some gelatinous creatures, which, apparently, do not give them anything? A new study carried out in a fjord in German by an international team of researchers has discovered that, in reality, jellyfish are nutritious. Contain some fatty acids are very valuable which play a crucial role in processes as important as growth and reproduction. “Fatty acids are vital components of cell membranes,” explains the marine biologist and expert on jellyfish, Jamileh Javidpour, from the University of Southern Denmark.

The researchers collected medusae in the Kiel fjord in northern Germany every two weeks for two years. Its content of fatty acids varied with the seasons, and also found variations associated with the stages of development: mature individuals with reproductive tissues had the highest content.

The team discovered several essential fatty acids in jellyfish German. Among them are the polyunsaturated fatty acids, arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

The key is in the amount

“it Is likely that jellyfish are more than a dam opportunistic for many organisms. It is true that a predator does not get much to eat a single medusa, but if you eat a lot, will mark the difference and provide you with valuable fatty acids,” says the principal investigator of the study, published in “Journal of Plankton Research”.

In other words: the poor quality of food can be affected by the large amount of food. As an example, researchers have observed that a salmon eats a medusa 20 times faster than it takes to eat a shrimp.

Then, if the predator does not have to spend a lot of energy to eat a lot of jellyfish, this hunting strategy begins to make sense. “The jellyfish often come in shoals and move slowly through the water. Can’t really swim when the predators start to eat them,” he explains.

on A global scale, the marine environments are changing and it is believed that an increasing abundance of jellyfish will replace other dams in the oceans. “While we see an increase in jellyfish, I suspect that we will also see a change in the populations of predators, especially in areas where the abundance of usual prey could be at risk from a changing environment,” says Javidpour.