As part of the marine animals who use jet propulsion for movement, scientists found that a jellyfish-like species brings teamwork to a whole other level by using an incredible coordinated way of navigating all their members as one.
Others, such as jellyfish or squids, use similar methods of propulsion through the waters and to maneuver around their environment, but this particular species travels with the entire colony at the same time, using multi-jet propulsion of both the young and the old members.
The entire group of a species called Nanomia bijuga, gathers up its efforts in order to achieve proper locomotion, of steering, turning and the driving force behind it to propel them all forward. According to lead author of the study, John H. Costello of Providence College, this system is incredibly efficient because “no developmental stage is wasted”.
Each part, both the young and the old members of the colony, are crucial to prompt movement and neither is more important than the other. The younger members are situated at the front end of the entire group, who use their smaller jets to turn or steer, while the older members are the force who moves them all forward through larger jets.
The older, jet-producing group are called nectophores, and are genetically identical, arranged in such a manner that would provide the best force. These clones are said to move the equivalent of a human running a marathon every day, so their older age certainly does not slow them down.
The younger group is in charge of steering and turning, and in spite of their smaller jets, they are incredibly important to the entire sophisticated process. According to Costello, they “have what we call long lever arm”.
It refers to the simple physics that if you push a door by its knob (or lever), it will open much more easily than if you shove closer to the hinges. So, in spite of the little force of their small jets, their position makes their influence highly impactful when turning.
Nanomia bijuga is a colonial animal, belonging to the same family as squids, corals or jellyfish. In spite of being only a few inches in length, they can travel up to 655 feet per day, using their incredibly complicated and united system to navigate through the waters.
Their usual patterns include surfacing during the night for feeding, and then travelling back into the depths in order to avoid predators.
These paths were videotapes and closely examined by researchers in order to ascertain the size and strength of individual jets, which in the future, might be design inspiration for jet propulsion underwater vehicles.
Image source: news.discovery.com