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
throughout the world.
All photographs © David
Wrobel and may not be used or copied without permission!
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