Bolinopsis lobed comb jelly with rainbows on its sides and a blue background

Don’t let their delicate beauty fool you—comb jellies are an aqua team hunger ctenophore-ce to be reckoned with!

Lobed comb jellies like Bolinopsis infundibulum above vacuum up plankton with funneling lobes paired with current-making auricles, while sea walnuts Hormiphora californiensis use twin tentacles covered in sticky filaments to trawl for microscopic snacks.

Hormiphora sea walnut comb jelly with rainbows on its sides and twin trailing tentacles and a blue background

But beware a bloom of Beroe! These gelatinous mouths-with-an-agenda hunt down their prey (often other comb jellies!) and swallow them whole with ciliated mouths that prevent escape!

Beroe forskalii slinking through the water with rainbow rows on its sides on a blue background

Comb jellies have a huge impact on the available plankton when they’re around, and so prolific are these well-coiffed diners that invasions of comb jellies into new habitats can cause ecological calamity!

So the next time you stand entranced by the mesmerizing rows of diffracted-light rainbows dancing along their sides, think of how formidable these jiggly juggernauts are in their watery ways!

Bolinopsis comb jellies next to each other, clear on blue background

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