Comb Jelly

Sticky-celled jelly

Mnemiopsis leidyi

Float, flash, blossom. Die.

Comb Jellies (Phylum Ctenophora) are not quite as famous as their stinging distant cousins but are just as inspiring. My first real-world encounter was with Mnemiopsis leidyi, which I accidentally captured in a bottle that became my first experiment with a saltwater biosphere. It took two weeks before I noticed the jelly floating around munching on the copepods that came with it. A professor helped with identification and, discovering it was of a bioluminescent variety, I got it to flash with strategic pen poking. It certainly made for unique and groovy addition to my dorm room.
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