Yesterday’s Guardian featured a jellyfish slide show, which included the above spectacular shot (photographed by diver Alexander Semenov). This looks exactly like Moon Jellies From Outer Space, orbiting Earth. Seriously, I’m waiting for the starship Enterprise to appear in the frame at any moment. If I could find a bigger version, this would be one of my all-time favorite wallpapers.
The full slide show is here, and packed with lovely photos. There are a few errors, however: on the image above (slide 9), the caption misidentifies the jellies as lion’s manes. They’re not; they’re moon jellies (Aurelia aurita). Also, the last two images are not jellyfish at all; they’re ctenophores, a completely different phylum from that containing jellyfish (which are cnidarians). Jellyfish subdue their prey with stinging cells, while comb jellies lack them. Many species of comb jellies, such as the one featured in the final photo (slide 14), simply engulf their prey with mouths that open to the diameter of their bodies. I always thought that would be such a convenient way of eating! Just open your mouth and drop an entire pizza in, to digest at your leisure.
Jellyfish — both true jellies and comb jellies — are such cool creatures.
UPDATE: Lilaine, commenter and computer geek extraordinaire, has come up with the wallpaper. I already have it on my desktop.