Creation of the world’s first Peanut Butter and Jellyfish

Ladies and gentlemen, I could not make this up if I tried. I owe my thanks to Wyatt Patry for sharing this study with me, and to P. Zelda Montoya and Barrett L. Christie at the The Dallas Zoo and Children’s Aquarium for creating  “the first known unholy amalgamation of America’s favorite lunchtime treat and live cnidarians”. That’s right folks, on the earth right now are, in fact, peanut butter jellyfish.

“We would love to claim we conducted this trial with noble purpose” Montoya and Christie say, “but the truth is that we just wanted to make peanut butter and jellyfish simply to see if it could be done”.  So to carry out this mission, they gathered up 250 baby moon jellies and some creamy peanut butter (no additives, of course!). They blended peanut butter and saltwater,  then added small drops of the peanutty liquid twice daily to the baby moon aquarium.

The authors expected many things to happen. But the moon jellies eating peanut butter was not one of them. To everyone’s complete shock, however, that’s precisely what happened.  “Mean size had increased to 4.17±1.06mm (n=19) after 8 days of peanutbutterification” the authors write. In other words, the peanut butter jellies were actually growing. And better yet, they became little peanut butter jelly cups: “Throughout this period it was noted that jellies that had recently fed displayed a distinct brownish hue owing to their high degree of peanutbutterocity.”

peanut butter jellyfish

Look at how big the peanut butter jellies get! From just a few millimeters (upper left) to about an inch (lower right). Favorite caption from the paper: “2b. A pair of [moon jelly] specimens on day 8 of the trial, magnification 100x, scale bar is approx. 1mm. Note the color of the (contracted) specimen on the left, this specimen has recently fed and is full of creamy goodness.”

The authors conclusion? “Moon jellies have seen a storied past. They have delighted children at aquaria worldwide, captivated researchers with their elegant simplicity and functionality, and even traveled into space (Spangenberg, 1994); but we feel that becoming one with peanut butter helps them fulfill their ultimate destiny as a species – to become peanut butter and jellyfish!”

These people. I want to be friends with them. I want to be friends with them now.

 

 

 

 

RR Helm (31 Posts)

I am a PhD candidate studying jellyfish development and evolution at Brown University. I've participated in numerous research expeditions, studying jellies all over the world, from Africa to the abyss. I am currently studying the beautiful mauve stinger jellies, found in the Mediterranean, and the ghostly Atlantic stinging nettles found on the US east coast.





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20 comments on “Creation of the world’s first Peanut Butter and Jellyfish
  1. Again, my Monday Marine Science was educated by you. But their question was, “do they taste like peanut butter?”

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  3. I’ve been a daily follower of DSN for almost 6 years now and I was shocked to see some crazy thing we did at the top of the page :)

    Thanks for the coverage of our insane experiment!

    • I love this study! As a jelly biologist I can’t wait to try this out on some moon ephyra. As a consumer of awesome things, I found the writing completely fantastic. So so good.

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