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What If You Had No Butt?

What if there were an animal without an anus? Get curious about the Warty Comb Jelly the mysterious ways of its disappearing butt.

What: An animal without an anus? Not exactly, but the warty comb jelly does have a butt that disappears.

Who: Scientist, Sidney Tamm discovered the warty comb jelly's disappearing butt while studying how warty comb jellies defecate. Who says science can't be fun and interesting?

Where: Where does its butt go? “It is not visible when the animal is not pooping,” says Tamm. “There’s no trace under the microscope. It’s invisible to me.” (New Scientist)

When: When the warty comb jelly invades a new habitat where food is scarce, the warty comb jelly will eat its own young to survive!

How: How does the warty comb jelly go number two without one butt? The warty comb jelly has a six part digestive system. After its stomach is full and the food has been digested the esophagus closes off. The stomach pinches down to a rectangular shape and the anal canals start to fill with poop. When they get all that they can hold, the anal pore magically appears somewhere on the gelatinous body. The jelly then poops and the anal pore disappears leaving no sign of its former self on the jelly’s body. This process can take just 2 to 3 minutes in young warty comb jellies and from 4 to 6 minutes in the adults. Whew!

Why: Why does having a disappearing butt make the warty comb jelly special? Because the warty comb jelly is the only animal known to humans with a disappearing butt.

Huh?: Not to be out done by the warty comb jelly, other fellow members of the Ctenophora phylum have multiple anuses.

Wow!: What if a disappearing butt isn't the most amazing ability at the warty comb jelly's disposal? Thanks to having the ability of bioluminescence, they can also glow in the dark!

Keep getting curious about animals with The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and its free Educator's Guide!

Thank you for your curiosity, stay curious, and let your curiosity lead your learning with more Curiosity-Based Learning content and activities from What If Curiosity!


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