Lurking in the inky darkness of the midwater, the siphonophore Apolemia
acts like a living drift net, with a length exceeding an incredible 30 meters. With
tentacles spread out, it is indeed a formidable predator on creatures inhabiting the
is a physonect siphonophore and thus has an anterior gas
float and set of swimming bells. The vast majority of the body is formed by the
elongate stem region with its feeding and reproductive structures. Since the stem
is exceedingly delicate, you will never find the entire siphonophore, or even long
segments, near the surface. You are far more likely to see sections of no more than
a meter in length. Typically the stem sections have a pinkish white color and drift
with the currents, unable to move on their own. Although a relatively abundant
inhabitant of Monterey Canyon and other midwater locations, Apolemia
commonly encountered by divers. If you do come across a section of the stem, it is
best to avoid contact since the stinging nematocysts are relatively potent.
All photographs © David
Wrobel and may not be used or copied without permission!
[ Apolemia ] [ Calycophoran ] [ Forskalia ] [ Nanomia ] [ Physophora ] [ Praya ]