Comb Jelly

By Cameron West-Johnson

April 27, 2020 

 

Comb Jellies are quite the unique little creatures. These ancient carnivores belonging to the phylum Ctenophora. Thus, they are not related to the jellyfish and have no stinging abilities. They get their name from the rows of cilia that resemble a comb. In order to propel them selves through the water, comb plates pulse moving all the cilia simultaneously. During the day, the comb rows diffract light as they swim, creating a beautiful rainbow display. However, they are even more impressive at night while producing a blueish green glow upon touch, this is known as bioluminescence. (The emission of light by chemical reactions.) Comb Jellies are 90% water and in order to hunt they have tentacles that contain sticky cells called colloblasts. While swimming through the water they release these tentacles to catch zooplankton. These animals have no brain but instead have a network of nerves called a nerve net. All Comb Jellies are hermaphrodites, eggs and sperm are externally fertilized in the water. Due to the simplicity of these creatures their lifespan is only a few months. In this time Comb Jellies can grow up to four feet, if they do not get eaten by a fish. So now that you know all about Comb Jellies, come catch them with us on a night tour!

 

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