MEDUSA - Ενυδρείο Κρήτης - Greek: Θαλασσόκοσμος, "sea world
Photo by Nasos Dokos - Video Editor: Takis Kladis
The Medusa was an ugly creature. Let's have a look at how she came into existence, for she wasn't always that ugly... Again, the Gods played their role.
The Medusa was the daughter of Phorkys and Keto, the children of Gaea (Earth) and Oceanus (Ocean). She was one of the three sisters known as the Gorgons. The other two sisters were Sthenno and Euryale. Medusa was the only mortal out of the three.
She was originally a golden-haired and very beautiful maiden, who, as a priestess of Athena, was devoted to a life of celibacy; but, being wooed by Poseidon, whom she loved in return, she forgot her vows, and became united to him in marriage. For this offence she was punished by the goddess in a most terrible manner. Each wavy lock of the beautiful hair which had so charmed her husband, was changed into a venomous snake; her once gentle, love-inspiring eyes now became blood-shot, furious orbs, which excited fear and disgust in the mind of the beholder; whilst her former roseate hue and milk-white skin assumed a loathsome greenish tinge.
Seeing herself thus transformed into so repulsive an object, Medusa fled from her home, never to return. Wandering about, abhorred, dreaded, and shunned by all the world, she now developed into a character, worthy of her outward appearance. In her despair she fled to Africa, where, as she passed restlessly from place to place, infant snakes dropped from her hair, and thus, according to the belief of the ancients, that country became the hotbed of these venomous reptiles. With the curse of Athene upon her, she turned into stone whomsoever she gazed upon, till at last, after a life of nameless misery, deliverance came to her in the shape of death, at the hands of Perseus.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The two basic body forms of Cnidaria: left, medusa and right, polyp
The development of Jellyfish. This image is taken from the book "Das Meer" (The Sea), by Matthias Jacob Schleiden. Top are medusae, or jellyfish; bottom are polyps. In the middle polyps strobilate (divide horizontally) to form medusae.
In biology, a medusa (plural: medusae) is a form of cnidarian in which the body is shaped like an umbrella. The other main body-form is the polyp.
Medusae vary from bell-shaped to the shape of a thin disk, scarcely convex above and only slightly concave below. The upper or aboral surface is called the exumbrella and the lower surface is called the subumbrella; the mouth is on the lower surface, which may be partially closed by a membrane extending inward from the margin (called the velum). The digestive cavity consists of the gastrovascular cavity and radiating canals which extend toward the margin; these canals may be simple or branching, and vary in number from few to many. The margin of the disk bears sensory organs and tentacles.
In the class Hydrozoa, medusae are the sexual individuals of many species, alternating in the life cycle with asexual polyps. The medusa form of Hydrozoans are known as hydromedusae. A polyp is the form that attaches to a surface, while a medusa is the form that is free-floating; a species of cnidarian may take each form in a different phase of its life.
The medusa form predominates in the classes Scyphozoa (the common, colourful, large jellyfish) and Cubozoa. Except for freshwater hydrozoans like Craspedacusta sowerbyi, these are the only classes in which medusae appear.
Medusae may have many tentacles with which they catch their prey. Very often, people bathing in the ocean are touched by a medusa. Their tentacles are long and thin and covered in venomous stinging cells (known as nematocysts). They inject poison which immobilizes small fish. People who are stung should see a doctor, for there have been deaths for being touched by a medusa.
Beautiful and strange fishes of Crete aquarium (Cretaquarium)