Also known as Comb jellies or sea gooseberries. The name comes from the Greek Ctena (comb) and Phora (bearer). They first appeared more 500 million years ago!
These are plankton predators which can swim with the help of a several rows of cilia. Some catch their food with long fishing tentacles laden with sticky cells (colloblast) like the #Cydippids.
Others can engulf their meal directly like the #Lobates. They can consume anything from other ctenophores, copepods to fish larva. The weirdest of all is the #Cestida which body plan is totally flat, yet it has all the attributes the Ctenophore group!
One species (Mnemiopsis Leidyi) was accidentally introduced in the black sea via ship ballast water coming from the Atlantic Ocean. Result: local fisheries collapsed due to M. Leidyi appetite for fish larvae.
Here is an amazing Ctenophore video from our Plankton Chronicles colleagues. Shimmering waves of light, stalking their prey, ctenophores are on the move.
Plankton Chronicles Project by Christian Sardet, CNRS / Noe Sardet and Sharif Mirshak, Parafilms
See Plankton Chronicles interactive site: planktonchronicles.org