Comb jellies are ocean-dwelling invertebrates belonging to the phylum Ctenophora, it’s pronounced “ten-o-four”; the ‘C’ is silent. The phylum, Ctenophore, derives its name from the series of vertical ciliary combs over the surface of the animal. These vertical ciliary combs help comb jellies in their locomotion. They live in almost all ocean regions, particularly in surface waters near shores. Ctenophores usually float freely, suspended in the water. They are frequently swept into vast swarms, especially in bays, lagoons, coastal waters. All of them are carnivorous and their diet consists of small planktonic animals.

Reproduction in ctenophores is sexual and they are hermaphroditic; eggs and sperm (gametes) are produced in separate gonads along the meridional canals that house the comb rows. In most ctenophores, these gametes are released into the water, where fertilization and embryonic development take place.

Most ctenophores are colorless, although Beroe is pink. The colorless species are transparent when suspended in water, except for their beautifully iridescent rows of comb plates. Most of the comb jellies are bioluminescent and this can be easily seen when they are in deeper parts of the oceans; they exhibit nocturnal displays of bluish or greenish light that are among the most brilliant and beautiful known in the animal kingdom.

Most of the nearly 90 known species of comb jellies are spherical or oval, with eight comb rows that extend orally from the vicinity of the statocyst. This serves as the organs of locomotion. Each comb row is made up of a series of transverse plates of very large cilia, fused at the base, called combs. The tentacles are richly supplied with adhesive cells called colloblasts, which are found only among ctenophores. These cells produce a sticky secretion, to which prey organisms adhere/stick on contact.

On to the species!