Bolinopsis infundibulum (O.F. Muller, 1776) : Lobed Comb Jelly
Phylum Ctenophora / Order Lobata / Family Bolinopsidae
Lobed comb jelly, Bolinopsis infundibulum, Point Lobos CA, Pacific Ocean

Careful attention is required to observe the almost totally transparent comb jelly, Bolinopsis. Although attaining lengths of up to 15 cm, it can still easily evade detection by the eyes of predators seeking a gelatinous meal. A pair of large oral lobes are held open to gather copepods, euphausids and other zooplankton. Prey are funneled on to the mucous-covered lobes with the aid of ciliated structures known as auricles. Once captured, cilia transport the food to the mouth slit. Bolinopsis usually orients vertically and swims slowly up and down while gathering food. Like other comb jellies, the eight comb rows propel the animal. The only pigmentation on the body is in the form of rows of dark spots on the lobes. The delicate gelatinous tissue is easily damaged. This comb jelly is a favored prey of the voracious ctenophore, Beroe. Bolinopsis is not particularly common in Monterey Bay, but may occasionally be seen in large aggregations during fall and winter months. It is more common in northern waters, and ranges from southern California to the Arctic. Bolinopsis is sometimes displayed at public aquariums featuring jellies. It does well in captivity when maintained in a kreisel and fed brine shrimp nauplii and wild zooplankton. A similar species, Mnemiopsis leidyi (bottom photo), native to the East Coast U.S., has become an invasive pest in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

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