But sometimes a gelatinous namesake can be a dubious honor. Malo kingi is a nod to Robert King, an American tourist who was killed by the jellyfish’s sting in Australia in 2002.
GFP has also been used for more, um, creative purposes. In 2000, French scientists spliced GFP into a white rabbit’s genome; Chicago artist Eduardo Kac claimed it was his idea, though scientists later disputed that. The resulting bunny, which glowed under black lights, triggered protests from animal rights groups. “It makes no sense to paint as we painted in caves,” Kac said in defense of his phosphorescent rabbit.
Sea wasps are advanced, as far as jellyfish go. They can swim (as opposed to drifting in the current) and scientists at the Tropical Australian Stinger Research Unit recently developed tagging technology to track the killers’ movements underwater.
Box jellies are also shoo-ins for the “Best Eyes” category. Most jellyfish don’t have eyes, but sea wasps have several clusters of them on their bells, complete with lenses, irises and corneas.
However, sometimes nature’s bounty is not enough. The Chinese are so keen to harvest the edible jellyfish Rhopilema esculentum that in 2005 and 2006, some 400 million tiny cultured jellies were released into Liaodong Bay. Fishermen recaptured only about 3 percent.