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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Pink Predator -- Part 2

Last fall I showed you a large pink blob on the beach and told you it was a comb jelly, or ctenophore, called Beroe (review that post here).

Well, at that time I didn't have a chance to show you Beroe in its element when suspended in the water.

Tonight I noticed at least a dozen Beroe washed up on the beach.  Here's one:



In mid-September I found a smaller individual so recently stranded that when I placed it in a bowl of seawater, it immediately started swimming around.  Here's a look at this comb jelly looking more like itself (rather than a deflated mass of jelly on the sand!):


Above, you can see the long rows of "combs" (made of fused cilia) that Beroe uses to swim.  There are a total of eight comb rows (not all of them are visible in the picture).  [Comb rows are one of the main features that distinguish comb jellies from jellyfish.]  Below is a close-up of those "combs" as they beat from one end of the comb jelly to the other:



Beroe has a very large mouth (remember that it's an active predator that often eats other comb jellies).  The mouth is open on the right side in the image below:


Now I can feel better that you've seen the true form of this Pink Predator!

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