Dallas zoo invents peanut butter jellyfish

It’s true that jellyfish are not insects, but I couldn’t pass up sending this tasty news morsel to Insects in the City readers.  My own local (Dallas) zoo recently conducted an experiment that began partly as attempt to find an economical and sustainable food source for captive gelatinous invertebrates. In the process it appears that zoo staff have created the first-known “Peanut Butter and Jellyfish.”

According to the article at GrindTV.com, P. Zelda Montoya and Barrett L. Christie of the Dallas Zoo proved that “scientists are not all left-brain thinkers; they can be highly imaginative and witty”. Their experiment entailed feeding tiny aquarium moon jellies peanut butter.  Not only did the jellies gobble up the tasty treat, they changed color and grew faster than normal.

According to the article, “Throughout this period it was noted that jellies that had recently fed, displayed a distinct brownish hue owing to their high degree of peanutbutterocity.” Deep Sea News observed that as a consequence “They became little peanut butter jelly cups.”

For my part I will report that in the world of biology, jellyfish are Cnidarians (nettle-like organisms), among the earliest forms of animal life.  While the 10,000 different kinds of jellyfish make up only a fraction of the diversity of animal life, they have been a successful group.  They appear to have been around for about 580 million years, compared to around 400 million years for the oldest known insect.

It’s stories like this that remind me of my youthful desire to work in a zoo.  Congratulations to Dallas Zoo staff for their apparent insatiable curiosity and ability to make us smile at the idea of peanut butter and jellyfish. And thanks to entomologist Tim Brys at the Dallas Zoo for bringing this to my attention.

Leave a Reply