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.
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