Caribbean box jellyfish

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Researchers have shown that the Caribbean box jellyfish can learn to avoid obstacles using visual and mechanical cues, despite not having a brain.

About Caribbean box jellyfish:

  • These are barely a centimetre long and have no brain.
  • It belongs to the Cnidaria phylum. (the animal group which includes jellyfish, sea anemones and coral).
  • The Caribbean box jellyfish, or Tripedalia cystophora is known to be able to navigate through murky water and a maze of submerged mangrove roots.
  • These gelatinous, fingernail-sized creatures are capable of learning from visual cues to avoid swimming into obstacles.
  • It has a cognitive ability which is never seen before in animals with such a primitive nervous system.
  • Their performance is called "associative learning" is comparable to far more advanced animals such as fruit flies or mice
  • They have four visual sensory centres called rhopalia, each of which has lens-shaped eyes and around a thousand neurons which help in avoiding harm.
  • They can respond to "operant conditioning” i.e they can be trained to "predict a future problem and try to avoid it."


Q1) What is Associative learning?

Associative learning is a fundamental concept in psychology and refers to the process by which an individual makes connections or associations between two or more stimuli, events, or actions. This type of learning involves linking a previously neutral stimulus with another stimulus or response to produce a particular behavioral outcome.

Source: No brain, no problem: Tiny jellyfish can learn from experience