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The jellyfish have officially invaded Al Qana

The capital’s only live jellyfish exhibition is now on at The National Aquarium.

Did you know that jellyfish have roamed the seas for more than 600 million years? That’s what the experts at The National Aquarium at Al Qana tell us. There are over 300,000 species of jellyfish, some of which are deadly to humans while others are harmless. And while many of the most fascinating attributes of jellyfish are still largely unknown, residents and tourists in Abu Dhabi can get up close and personal with this gelatinous marine species at the new Invasion of the Jellyfish exhibition that has just kicked off at The National Aquarium.

The National Aquarium

As for what visitors can expect? The exhibition showcases mesmerising stinging sea nettles, UFO-like moon jellies, upside-down jellies that farm sunlight, and giant energetic blubbers that are the long-distance travellers of the family. All different shapes and forms are displayed in specialised aquariums, which keep them in permanent aquatic suspension. This unique display is only made possible through the aquarium’s expert marine biologists, who work behind the scenes and have mastered the jellyfish life cycle within specialised breeding facilities. 

The exhibition takes its name from a term often used when blooms of jellyfish appear suddenly and for no apparent reason. Science has discovered that this natural ‘surprise’ is indeed all part of their masterplan. Jellyfish have a unique life cycle that includes a dormant phase when the plant-like creatures called ‘jellyfish polyps’ remain sediment on the seafloor. When something extreme happens in the ocean, such as a sudden temperature change, the polyps start firing out an army of clones. These genetically identical jellyfish clones – absent of brains and made of 98% water – swarm the beaches, often causing distress among the public. 

The National Aquarium

“This exhibition is another step in the right direction for The National Aquarium, which already exhibits the most diverse collection of animals in the region,” says General Manager Paul Hamilton. “Our guests are always surprised by the size of the facility, the length of the journey, and the sheer number of animals they see along the way. Invasion of the Jellyfish is yet another world-class attraction helping us meet the expectations of the Abu Dhabi public.”

GO: Visit www.thenationalaquarium.ae for more information.

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Samia Qaiyum
A textbook third culture kid with a perpetual thirst for adventure, Samia Qaiyum specialises in travel and culture, having lived in five countries and travelled to 34 others – just don't ask her to define the word 'home'.

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