Jellyfish Lake And The Daily Dance of 10 Million Golden Jellyfish

Published March 15, 2014
Updated January 8, 2018

Each day, more than 10 million golden jellyfish follow the sun and migrate throughout the beautiful Jellyfish Lake on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean.

Millions of Jellyfish

Source: GrindTV

Each day, more than 10 million golden jellyfish perform a habitual migration within Jellyfish Lake, a remote marine lake on the island of Palau. While jellyfish are often know for drifting aimlessly at sea, these golden jellies propel themselves forward by pumping water through their golden bells. This daily dance draws numerous visitors to the Pacific Island’s Jellyfish Lake each year.

Jellyfish Lake

Source: GrindTV

Jellyfish Propelling Itself

Source: Flickr

Each morning, the jellyfish congregate on the lake’s western shore, waiting for the sun’s arrival. As the day continues, the jellyfish mirror the sun’s movement, propelling themselves from the western shore to the middle of the lake, and, as the sun sets, back to the western bank.

Pictures From Lake Of Jellyfish

Source: Dailymail

Jellyfish Lake From Below Water

Source: GrindTV

By following the sun’s familiar movements, the jellyfish avoid a major predator, anemones, which reside in the lake’s shaded places. In the centuries since the 12,000-year-old saltwater lake was formed, these jellyfish have evolved to cope with the lack of natural predators and have therefore lost their sting.

For this reason, Jellyfish Lake is a popular diving hot spot. Recently, diver Nadia Aly visited the lake, taking thousands of incredible pictures of the phenomenon, including a selfie.

Aerial View of Jellyfish Lake

Source: Wikipedia

The unique migration that takes place in Jellyfish Lake is all caused by a need for direct sunlight. Golden jellyfish need sunlight to survive, as the sun’s rays provide important nutrients to the algae-like organisms that inhabit the jellyfish’s tissues.

Formally called zooxanthellae, these endosymbiotic dinoflagellates create energy through photosynthesis, and provide that to the jellyfish in exchange for inorganic molecules. Without the sun, these organisms would die, robbing their hosts of important, life-giving energy.

Golden Jellyfish Seawater Lake

Source: Dailymail

While the daily jellyfish migration is incredible in its own right, the migration pattern also plays an important role in the lake’s ecosystem. Jellyfish Lake was once directly connected to the ocean, but now only fissures and deep tunnels connect the lake to the sea.

As a now-isolated seawater lake, the daily movement of the jellyfish stirs the lake water and distributes essential nutrients to various organisms, ensuring that the entire ecosystem survives.

Sunlight Peeks Through Jellyfish Lake

Source: GrindTV

Kiri Picone
Bay Area transplant Kiri Picone is a writer and marketer who loves bizarre news and the color purple.
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