Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New jelly species: the "Pink Meanie?"

The jellies, or sea jellies (or jellyfish, a term marine biologists have tried to banish without success) include an astonishing variety of forms, from animals that can hardly be seen at all to species three meters across. The new species found off Florida, Drymonema larsoni, is so different from its nearest kin that a new family had to be created. (Different due to "allometric growth of the bell margin distal of the rhopalia, an annular zone of tentacles on the subumbrella, and ontogenetic loss of gastric filaments," if you want to know.) It was nicknamed the "Pink Meanie" for its unusual diet: other jellyfish. And this species is huge, up to a meter across. Not a creature to mess with.

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