Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Comb jellies on the Cottesloe Reef

When there's enough sunlight, you will see some free-swimming comb jellies in the Cottesloe waters. Despite their name and jellyfish-like appearance, they are not really jellyfish - and they don't sting. So I felt safe swimming around them and taking their photos.

The comb jelly has eight rows of cilia (short hair-like structures) running down the length of its body. They use the cilia for movement. The beating cilia scatter light and produce the rainbow colours that run down the length of its body - delightful to watch!

The photo of the same comb jelly from a different angle.
Its flattened body is more obvious in this photo.
The white dots above the critter are suspended particles that reflect light.

The photo of the same comb jelly taken with the water surface in the background.

This is another comb jelly. Its body looks much flatter than the last one.

Yet another comb jelly. This is obviously a different type. It is more oval in shape.

This is another comb jelly. Its body looks much flatter than the last one.

This one could be the same type as the last one, but it is upside down.

So the next time you hit the water, just stop for a moment and look around you. Look hard. You might see one of these transparent critters drifting around. And after you have seen the first one, you will soon see the second, the third...

1 comment:

Dale Ziemianski said...

Sweet. I just updated a blog on some glowing eggs I found on Myrtle Beach in early July that I was told could be comb jelly eggs/juveniles. Check out the photos, and next summer (May-July) walk along the beach in that area at night and see if you find glowing eggs where you stepped. That might be what they are after all.

Great blog - great photos!