THE ESTIMABLE FOLKS AT THE MONTERREY BAY AQUARIUM RESEARCH INSTITUTE are celebrating their success at breeding the comb jelly Leucothea pulchra with a video chowing off its otherworldly, pulsating beauty.
As a comb jelly, L. pulchra (whose Latin name means “beautiful sea goddess”) is more properly known as a ctenophore, a gelatinous sea creature somewhat resembling a jellyfish.
CTENOPHORES VERSUS JELLIES
Unlike with your basic jelly, ctenophores don’t sting. Instead, they have sticky tentacles that trail out behind them like fishing lines and undulating “auricles” that probably drive food into their mouths, say MBARI scientists.
Comb jellies’ foods of choice are larger plankton like copepods, small shrimps and krill. The common name for L. pulchra is “spotted comb jelly,” referring to spots along its body.
BREEDING COMB JELLIES: DELICATE
Breeding the beautiful sea goddess is an accomplishment because they are so fragile that just waving a hand through the water could destroy them, the scientists note. Any work done with them has to be performed in extreme slow motion.
Along with the video, the MBARI scientists discuss L. pulchra and their work with the animal in “Raising the “Beautiful Sea Goddess” on the MBARI website.