Cigar Jelly
Olindias phosphorica

 

One of the strangest critters we occasionally see here it the Cigar Jelly. This is a cnidarian, class Hydrozoa.

I must admit that when I first saw one of these I was not sure, at all, what I was looking at. It was definitely weird and it was also very beautiful. It seemed to be alive, as it pulsed from time to time. But it was difficult to place. Over time I saw a few more of them, and they seem to come in a couple of colours, white or a very fetching pink.

So a little bit of research later and I found they are called Cigar Jellies. This is because the roll themselves up during the day and rest on the bottom, with their tentacles retracted inside their bodies. As night the tentacles can apparently extend up to 10m (30ft) and feed on small fish and zooplankton. Their colourful insides make them a great subject for photos.

And finally this week I saw one swimming around for a short while. It was excellent to finally see one in motion and to understand what they look like when unfolded.

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