The North American comb jellyfish Mnemiopsis leidyi has long been known to consume vast quantities of zooplankton. A few years ago the species became established in Northern Europe.
Like many other jellyfish, Mnemiopsis leidyi has a large gelatinous body. The large size increases its chances of encountering prey, but can also be a disadvantage since the prey organisms are often highly sensitive to movements in the water. Nevertheless, the comb jellyfish manages to catch large amounts of copepod plankton, which are known for their acute escape response.
Able to catch the world’s most vigilant plankton
‘Copepods have a well developed ability to detect even the slightest water disturbance,’ says Lars Johan Hansson, a researcher at the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg. ‘They can swim well clear of the source of water deformation in just a split second. How the comb jellyfish is able to approach and catch some of the animal world’s most vigilant plankton has up until now been unknown.’
The researchers used advanced video technology to study water flows around and within the comb jellyfish. These measurements were then used to calculate the water deformation generated by the jellyfish and compare this with the levels that trigger an escape response in copepods.
‘It emerged that the comb jellyfish uses microscopic, hairlike cilia inside its oral lobes to generate a feeding current that carefully transports water between the lobes. As the water accelerates slowly and is transported undisturbed into the jellyfish together with the prey, there is nothing that alarms the prey until it is next to the capture site inside the lobes, by which time it’s too late to escape. This makes the jellyfish a hydrodynamically silent predator.’
The research on the ability of the comb jellyfish to capture its prey was carried out jointly by researchers from the USA, Norway and the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg.
The study – Stealth predation and the predatory success of the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi – has been published in the scientific journal PNAS.Contact: Lars Johan Hansson
Helena Aaberg | idw
More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy