Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New ’bumpy’ jelly found in deep sea


Stellamedusa ventana photographed during the MBARI 2003 expedition to the Gulf of California.
Image credit: (c) 2003 MBARI

This laboratory photo shows the bumps that give Stellamedusa ventana its common name, "Bumpy." Each bump contains hundreds of stinging cells, which are used for capturing and holding onto prey.
Image credit: Kevin Raskoff (c) 2003 MBARI

Wart-like bumps of stinging cells cover the feeding arms and bell of a newly described deep-sea jelly, published by MBARI biologists in this month’s issue of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. This softball-sized, translucent jelly moves through the water like a shooting star, trailing four fleshy oral arms--but no tentacles--behind it. This and other unique features resulted in the jelly’s categorization as a new genus and species.

The MBARI researchers named the jelly Stellamedusa ventana. Its genus, Stellamedusa, refers to the jelly’s translucent blue-white color and trailing arms, which reminded the scientists of a slow-moving meteor or shooting star. It’s species name, ventana, refers to MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Ventana, a deep-diving submarine robot that first recorded the jelly on video in 1990. Before they created an official name for this animal, researchers gave this jelly the nickname "bumpy" because it’s bell and oral arms are covered with small bumps, which are actually clusters of stinging cells that the jelly uses to capture prey.

Kevin Raskoff, primary author of the paper, says of the new jelly "Although it’s highly unusual for a jelly not to have tentacles, several deep-sea species have evolved this way. They have also evolved unusual feeding strategies, which rely on other parts of their body, such as the bell and oral arms, to capture prey." Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at MBARI, Raskoff now teaches at California State University, Monterey Bay.

MBARI researchers have seen S. ventana only seven times during thirteen years of diving. Five of these observations were in Monterey Bay. The other two occurred during an MBARI expedition to the Gulf of California in spring 2003. According to George Matsumoto, co-author of the paper, "This animal still represents a conundrum. At first we thought it might be just a very rare local species, here in Monterey Bay. Then we saw it twice in the Gulf of California, three thousand miles away. We still have no idea of its true range."

The researchers waited years to publish their discovery of this jelly because they wanted to be able to present information about its habits and distribution, as well as its appearance. As Matsumoto put it, "you need enough observations to understand the natural variations in the animal’s size and shape. We just didn’t have enough information to make any general statements about the animal."

Here is some of what they do know: S. ventana has been observed at depths between 150 and 550 meters (about 500 to 1800 feet), just below the level that sunlight can penetrate, but above a layer of very low oxygen levels. This region is known as the mesopelagic realm, and is the home of entire communities of gelatinous animals. In fact, based on field and lab observations, the researchers believe that this jelly may feed primarily on other jellies.

To study the jelly’s eating habits, the researchers placed a captured jelly in a tank with small shrimp and pieces of squid. The shrimp and squid collided with batteries of stinging cells on the jelly’s bell and stuck there. The prey then moved slowly down to the edge if the bell. At that point, the jelly transferred the prey to one of its oral arms, where it slowly moved up the arm and into the mouth.

Unlike other jellies who capture food with their bells, S. ventana seemed to prefer prey larger than about 2 cm (3/4 inch). In fact, one individual captured in the Gulf of California had in its gut a ctenophore about 5 cm (2 inches) across. Raskoff speculates that the bumps on the jelly’s bell and arms may aid in capturing large pray. "These bumps contain massive batteries of stinging cells, which are good for holding on to prey as well as immobilizing it."

Matsumoto is somewhat surprised that S. ventana has never been described previously or hauled up in nets. "The coast of California is one of the more well-studied parts of the world’s oceans, with two major oceanographic institutions dating from the late 1800s. Yet we are still discovering new species there. Who knows what else we might find?" Raskoff adds, "It’s heartwarming to know that there’s still a lot of mystery in the deep ocean. There are still a lot of big things moving around out there that we don’t know about."

Kim Fulton-Bennett | MBARI
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>