Ctenophores - Comb Jellies
Sea Walnut, Mnemiopsis mccradyi
Jelly, Beroe ovata
Winged Comb Jelly, Ocyropsis crystallina
Gooseberry, Euplakamis sp.
Members of this Phylum have tentacles that have stinging capsules called nematocysts that they use for defense and capturing prey. Most stings have no harmful effects, but some are very toxic and should be avoided. Unless you are very familiar with the various species, it is best not to touch or molest them.
Comb Jellies are not real Jellyfish. Jellyfish are the Phylum Cnidarian which they share with hydroids and anemones, all of which have stinging tentacles. Comb Jellies are generally no more than an inch or two in diameter and have no more than two sticky filaments. They travel the open oceans near the surface.
Unlike jellyfish that pulsate water to gain movement, the comb jelly's eight rows of little "hairs" are used to beat the water to co-ordinate with wave action to move themselves along. Comb jellies are very fragile, up to 96% water, but voracious predators of other jellies. As they swim, the comb rows diffract light to produce a neon, rainbow effect. These jellies are bio-luminescent . When disturbed, they produce a blues green glow. The most commonly seen are the Sea Walnuts. The Flattened Helmet Jelly was spotted in the mangroves. Often masses of these jellies are found floating near the surface of the water. Most are about 1 inch in diameter.
The Sea Gooseberry's long filaments are not for stinging, rather they have a sticky adhesive that traps prey and the filament is then retracted bringing the prey to the jellies mouth. Not all Comb Jellies have filaments, and never more than two.