Jellyfish And Comb Jellies – Smithsonian Ocean


Jellyfish and Comb Jellies have been part of the ocean ecosystem for hundreds of millions of years, and yet they remain largely mysterious to us. In this article, we explore the fascinating world of these creatures and find out what makes them so special. Uncover their secrets, discover their natural history, and learn why they are considered one of the most important species in the sea!


Jellyfish and comb jellies are two of the most fascinating creatures in the animal kingdom. Both groups are composed of gelatinous animals that lack a backbone, and both have a long history dating back to the earliest days of animal life on Earth.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean on the planet, from the warmest waters near the equator to the coldest waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from tiny creatures no bigger than a grain of sand to giants that can grow to over six feet across.

Comb jellies are closely related to jellyfish, but they are not true jellyfish. Instead, they belong to a separate group of animals known as ctenophores. Comb jellies are found in all the world’s oceans, but they are most common in warm, tropical waters.

Both jellyfish and comb jellies are amazing creatures that are well worth learning more about!

What is a Jellyfish?

Jellyfish are marine invertebrates that belong to the phylum Cnidaria. They can be found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. Jellyfish are mostly transparent or pale in color, and they range in size from less than 1 cm to over 2 m in diameter.

Jellyfish are predators that use their stinging tentacles to capture prey. Their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, and other zooplankton. Jellyfish reproduce both sexually and asexually. Some species of jellyfish can live for over a year, while others only live for a few days or weeks.

Jellyfish are an important part of the ocean food chain. They provide food for many animals, including turtles, fishes, and sea birds. Jellyfish also play an important role in controlling the population of their prey species.

What is a Comb Jelly?

A comb jelly is a type of ctenophore, or marine invertebrate, that gets its name from the eight rows of cilia, or “combs,” that line its body and propel it through the water. Comb jellies are found in all oceans and come in a variety of colors and shapes. Some species can even produce their own light!

Similarities and Differences in Appearance.

Jellyfish come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some are nearly transparent, while others are very colorful. Some have long tentacles, while others have shorter ones. But despite their differences in appearance, all jellyfish are members of the same phylum, Cnidaria.

Similarly, comb jellies also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They can be nearly transparent or very colorful. Some have long tentacles, while others have shorter ones. But despite their differences in appearance, all comb jellies are also members of the same phylum, Cnidaria.

So what are the similarities and differences between jellyfish and comb jellies? Both groups are members of the phylum Cnidaria, which means they share a common ancestor. Both groups are also aquatic animals that live in marine environments. However, there are some key differences between these two groups. Jellyfish are mostly composed of water, while comb jellies contain more solid matter. Additionally, jellyfish rely on stingers for prey capture and defense, while comb jellies use cilia (hair-like structures) for propulsion and feeding.

Similarities and Differences in Behavior.

Though they may look similar, there are several behavioral differences between jellyfish and comb jellies. For example, jellyfish are passive drifters while comb jellies actively swim by stroking their eight rows of cilia. Additionally, jellyfish rely on stinging cells for both prey capture and defense, while comb jellies only use them for defense. Lastly, comb jellies are capable of bioluminescence while jellyfish are not.

Similarities and Differences in Structure.

Jellyfish and comb jellies are both soft-bodied animals that live in the ocean. They are similar in that they are both gelatinous, have a nervous system, and lack a backbone. However, they differ in their body structure. Jellyfish are radially symmetrical, meaning they can be divided into equal halves through any plane passing through their center. Comb jellies, on the other hand, are bilaterally symmetrical, meaning they have a left and right side that are mirror images of each other. Additionally, jellyfish have tentacles with stinging cells used for capturing prey, while comb jellies have eight rows of cilia that they use to sweep food towards their mouths.


Jellyfish and comb jellies are fascinating animals that have been around for hundreds of millions of years. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, with some species being able to glow in the dark! Their ability to survive in extreme environments make them truly remarkable creatures. We hope this article has helped you learn more about these mysterious organisms and their amazing adaptations.

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