Euplokamis dunlapae Mills, 1987
Phylum Ctenophora / Order Cydippida / Family Euplokamidae

This tiny comb jelly is rarely encountered in surface waters of central California. As is typical of cydippid ctenophores, a pair of tentacles exit the body at the aboral side (opposite the mouth). It can be distinguished from other comb jellies in the area by the side branches (10 to 60 in number), which are normally held tightly coiled to form distinct lumps along the length. The body, with a maximum length of up to 2 cm, is also more football shaped than the spherical Pleurobrachia. It is transparent, with red pigment on the comb rows, tentacle bases and side branches. Comb rows are all equal in length and do not extend along the entire body (2/3 to 3/4 of body length). Copepods, the preferred prey, are ensnared with the tentacle side branches. When disturbed, Euplokamis can release blobs of bioluminescent material. It’s an abundant comb jelly of midwater habitats off the San Juan Islands (Washington) and British Columbia, and ranges at least as far south as central California.

All images in the JelliesZone © David Wrobel and may not be copied or used in any form without permission.

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