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Ctenophora Eschscholtz, 1829
COMB JELLIES; SEA WALNUTS
Life   Ctenophora

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Ctenophore
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Ctenophore
Overview
Ctenophores are marine animals that possess eight rows of cilia that they use in locomotion. Light scatters off these rows of cilia, often causing a "rainbow-effect" to radiate from ctenophores. Although this phenomena is not actually bioluminesence, most ctenophores are bioluminescent in addition to emitting the rainbow of light. Ctenophores are carnivores that feed mostly on zooplankton, with a few larger species feeding on invertebrate larvae and small crustaceans. They use tentacles with specialized sticky cells to capture their prey and bring it to the mouth. It is in this manner that ctenophores are capable of wiping out entire ecosystems because of their carnivorous ways. As voracious predators, ctenophores are capable of overpopulating ecosystems, ravaging the food supply, and thus wiping out indigenous species of the area. All ctenophores are hermaphroditic, releasing both eggs and sperm into the water as they swim. The sperm find the eggs in the water, and fertilization then takes place.

Phylogeny


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Acknowledgements
  • Sam Cincotta, University of Georgia, Athens

I thank John Pickering for his assistance with the development of this page.


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Following modified from University of California, Berkeley
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Introduction to Ctenophora

Red Line Bolinopsid; 15 cm
 
Ctenophores (Greek for "comb-bearers") have eight "comb rows" of fused cilia arranged along the sides of the animal, clearly visible along the red lines in these pictures. These cilia beat synchronously and propel ctenophores through the water. Some species move with a flapping motion of their lobes or undulations of the body. Many ctenophores have two long tentacles, but some lack tentacles completely.

Ctenophores, variously known as comb jellies, sea gooseberries, sea walnuts, or Venus's girdles, are voracious predators. Unlike