There have always been conversations about animals with the power of camouflage and now there is even more to talk about. A certain species of jellyfish can almost make itself ‘invisible. This meaning that the jellyfish can make itself unknown to the prey it is about to capture. The full name of this specimen is the Mnemiopsis leidyi, also known as the North American comb jellyfish. The North American comb jellyfish has bright bands of colors that divide the body into eight areas. The comb jellyfish’s diet consists mainly of copepods, a plank tonic organism.
The following video was created by the Vancouver Aquarium. It is a simple explanation on the appearance of the North American comb jellyfish. Please notice the vibrant, exotic colors of the vertical ciliary combs.
This cunning jellyfish has an amazing tactic for survival which is making it not known to predators. As stated before the main prey of the comb jellyfish is the Copepod. Copepods are challenging to catch because of their ability to notice the slightest movement in water. It would have thought to be a problem for the jellies because of their large gelatinous body. The large body size would raise their chances of encountering prey, but would also decrease the actual amount of prey they catch because the plankton are highly cautious and would be able to detect the movements in the water; but the jellyfish have a certain mechanism that beat the odds.
The process of the voracious comb jellyfish was unknown until just recently when scientists were able to use advanced video technology to study the jellyfish. It was shown that that the comb jellyfish use microscopic cilia (hairlike organelles) inside the oral lobes. From there it creates a feeding ‘wave’ that slyly moves water between the lobes. As the water moves slowly and carefully, it is carried into the jellyfish with the prey. This technique leaves the prey unalarmed and not suspecting of being captured. By the time the Copepod is aware of what is going on it is too late to even think about escaping.
As you can see, the jellyfish do not literally turn invisible, but it might as well. The functions of these unique creatures make the study of them so much more fascinating and interesting. What vibrant colors tend to actually light up of the jellyfish? Also, how long does the process of catching the Copepod last? Soon, with this amazing method, the North American comb jellyfish will be the masters of the sea!