Comb Jellies: Rainbows in the Sea

July 9, 2020

Comb Jellies at SeaQuest

Rainbows in the Ocean? Sounds crazy, we know! The Comb Jelly, scientifically known as Ctenophora, is a beautiful species of jellyfish that move through the ocean with the help of comb rows, or cilia, that reflect light. And you can see them at SeaQuest in Roseville, Minnesota. The light reflected off of these eight combs give off a rainbow or illuminating appearance. Comb Jellies are the largest animal to swim with the help of cilia, the largest Comb Jelly sizing in at 1.5 meters (that is about 4 ft 11 in). 


Here’s a shocker! Contrary to popular belief, Comb Jellies are not even Jellyfish at all! Comb Jellies belong to a separate category just for them called “Ctenophora.” This means that even though Comb Jellies are transparent (like Jellyfish), the combs that reflect light and help the jelly to swim put Comb Jellies in a world of their own!

Let's take a look at some Illuminating facts about Comb Jellies:

  • Most Comb Jellies can detect chemical traces in the water to help them locate food!
  • The body of a Comb Jelly can expand its stomach to hold prey over half their size!
  • Jelly populations can be a tip-off to larger environmental issues since Comb Jellies are very sensitive to water quality!
  • Comb Jellies are 95% water, which allows them to float around much easier! 
  • Certain species of Comb Jellies have retractable tentacles that come from the middle of their bodies, these are called “lasso cells”!
  • The Comb Jellies that live in the deep ocean are red in color because at that depth predators cannot see the color red. 
  • According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Comb Jelly is 500 million years old! 
  • Comb Jellies aren’t harmful to humans, meaning you can’t get stung, but they do not have any natural predators! 

These free-floating rainbow animals can be found in almost all marine waters and are truly a wonder of our oceans. What was your favorite Comb Jelly fact? 


Learn more about SeaQuest Roseville, Minnesota, our animals and VIP specials when you sign up here.


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