Solmaris spp.
Phylum Cnidaria / Class Hydrozoa / Order Narcomedusae / Family Solmarisidae

You’ll need to look very carefully to find this diminutive jelly. Not much is visible in the highly transparent and colorless body. Individuals found off California typically have a flat, lens-shaped bell with a diameter of no more than 1 cm. From 1 to 3 dozen tentacles exit the bell above the margin in a manner typical of narcomedusae. Statocysts are located in the marginal lappets. Rather than a pouch, the stomach is more like a ring around the periphery of the bell. Solmaris is an active swimmer, using bursts of bell pulses to move in a jumpy style with the somewhat rigid tentacles held forward. Small gelatinous zooplankton fall prey to this jelly, including chaetognaths and doliolids. After prey capture, the tentacles involved swing around to the posterior and bring the food to the waiting mouth for ingestion. At times, huge surface swarms may form off central and southern California nearshore habitats. Other species of Solmaris inhabit waters throughout the world.


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