Brandon Specktor

Later this summer, around the time school usually starts in North America, thousands of invasive jellyfish-like creatures in the Baltic Sea will begin eating their children.

Any parent who has just spent a summer in close quarters with their kids might understand the motivation, but it’s far more than mere annoyance that drives the Baltic jellies to their annual baby jelly buffet. According to a new study published May 7 in the journal Communications Biology, cannibalism may simply be a fact of life for jellies living in nutrient-poor waters outside their natural habitats, providing adults a few extra weeks of energy after they’ve decimated local prey populations.

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