Benthic comb jelly

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The Benthic comb jelly is a jellyfish living in the Ryukyu Trench near Japan. Found at a depth of 7,217 metres (23,700 ft), it is the deepest dwelling ctenophore to be discovered.

Description[edit]

The benthic comb jelly is a gelatinous organism 5–8 cm wide and 10–20 cm long. It can attach itself to the sea floor using two long filaments and it has two retractable tentacles at the opposite end. Its appearance has been said to resemble a two-tailed box kite.[1]

Discovery[edit]

The Benthic comb jelly was discovered off the coast of Japan at the Ryukyu Trench. It was observed by the remotely operated underwater vehicle Kaikō on a dive into the Ryukyu Trench in April 2002, but the video and images of this unique bottom dwelling ctenophore remained "undiscovered" until several years later.[when?] During April 2006, scientists from the Census of Marine Zooplankton observed a number of rare deep-sea ctenophores, which led to the cydippid ctenophore taxonomy being examined again and the suggestion that there should be two new families of cydippid ctenophore. Due to several taxonomic affinities[vague], researchers studied this species for inclusion in the genus Aulacoctena. However, the two species did not match up, so a second category will be made.

Diet[edit]

Many questions have arisen about the availability of food for the benthic comb jelly. Previously, the abyssal depths of deep sea trenches such as this one were thought to be unable to support predators that rely on macroscopic food sources, only ones that are sessile and do not actively hunt. This led some to believe that there are missing pieces of the story of life in this area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Benthic Comb Jelly | World Ocean Observatory". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-13.