||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 6 to 8
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||phylum, ephyrae, free-spirited, medusa, nematocyst, nematocysts, zooplankton, fatal, umbrella-like, highly, trigger, harpoon, despite, wherever, capsule, toxin
1 Shaped like umbrellas, jellyfish are free-spirited swimmers. Sometimes they swim by contracting their soft bodies to push them forward, but other times they just drift to wherever the water currents take them. While nearly all jellyfish live in the ocean, a number of them take up residence in freshwater lakes.
2 Despite their name, jellyfish are actually not fish! Jellyfish are made up of over 95% water, and they do not have brains, hearts, gills, bones, or blood. So, if jellyfish are not fish, what are they? Jellyfish belong to an animal group called invertebrates, because they do not have backbones. Fish are vertebrates, because they have backbones. Jellyfish are related to corals and anemones. They belong to the phylum Cnidaria (pronounced "nide-AIR-ee-ah".)
3 There are more than 200 different species of jellyfish in the world. They come in a variety of sizes and colors. Lion's mane jellyfish are the largest species of jellyfish. Their bells (jellyfish's round, umbrella-like bodies) can reach 8 feet across, and their tentacles can be more than 200 feet long! Most jellyfish have see-through bells in all sorts of colors. Some even glow in the dark!
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