The penguin and the jellyfish


Antarctic penguins seek out and devour many different species of jellyfish.


A jellyfish (Diplulmaris Antarctica) and an Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) swim in Antarctic waters near Dumont d'Urville scientific station on Île des Pétrels, in Adélie Land, in December 2015.
A jellyfish (Diplulmaris Antarctica) and an Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) swim in Antarctic waters near Dumont d'Urville scientific station on Île des Pétrels, in Adélie Land, in December 2015.
Pierre Chevaldonné / CNRS / IPEV

Penguins and jellyfish commonly inhabit the same Antarctic waters, but until recently it was believed they didn’t have much to do with one another.

All that changed when a team of international researchers led by Jean-Baptiste Thiebot of the National Institute of Polar Research in Tokyo attached video cameras to some patient penguins and sent them off swimming. As it turns out, penguins love a gelatinous snack.

In examining 350 hours of footage collected from cameras on 106 penguins of four different species (Adelie penguins, yellow-eyed penguins, Magellanic penguins, and little penguins), the researchers counted almost 200 attacks on jellyfish and other gelatinous sea creatures.

The results were published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
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