Phylum Cnidaria / Class Hydrozoa / Order Leptomedusae / Family Laodiceidae
Here’s a jelly you don’t see too often in surface waters of Central California, but when present, it’s easily distinguished from other hydromedusae. The 4 broad, bright white gonads, held in a cross pattern on the radial canals, are the most obvious characteristic. Ptychogena is usually quite conspicuous and can be seen from a boat with little problem. The bell is transparent and ranges in diameter from 1 to 9 cm. Up to 500 very fine tentacles line the bell margin, with a vesicle between each tentacle base. The squarish stomach at the center of the radial arm cross has 4 simple lips. Two species, P. californica and P. lactea, inhabit the waters from southern California to the Bering Sea. Off central California they typically reside in relatively deep water, but may occasionally rise to the surface. In the northern part of the range Ptychogena more frequently visits depths friendly to casual observers.
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