Category Archives: Cnidaria

So many jelly photos!

My first visit to the National Aquarium was also a behind-the-scenes tour of the jellyfish room with Jennie Janssen (@JellyJanssen). I was completely mesmerized by the hundreds of jellies in various industrial-sized aquaria. I am frequently mesmerized by jellies, big and small, in an aquarium or under the scope in the lab. And I take a lot of pictures. I

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Jellyfish are Good Eatin’!

A couple of weeks ago, New York Times’s science writer Carl Zimmer wrote about a recent review by Hays et al (2018), which asked: how important are jellyfish in marine ecosystems? The answer: important. In fact, probably more important than we have been giving them credit for. Jellyfish (often referring to both cnidarians and ctenophores) have typically been considered trophic

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Stinging Cells from the Summer!

I am busy cranking away at the Smithsonian NMNH, but I wanted to share some photos of one of my favorite complex animal features: the stinging cell! Stinging cells house nematocysts, the stinging cell organelles distinctive to all cnidarians (hence the Latin translation, nettle-bearing animals). Nematocysts are thread-like capsules secreted by stinging cells that are mechanically or chemically discharged through

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Lives of Jellies at the Mall!

In the 95F heat, jetlagged, and arriving in DC less than 24 hours prior, I cannot describe how happy I was to do a little jellyfish outreach with the interns and researchers of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Invertebrate Biology Aquaroom at the Annual Smithsonian Staff Picnic! Along with Dr. Allen Collins, Dr. Cheryl Ames, and interns Christine,

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Sea Anemones, Peptide Super Heros

Review of: J. Prentis, P., Pavasovic, A., & S Norton, R. (2018). Sea Anemones: Quiet Achievers in the Field of Peptide Toxins. Toxins, 10(1), 36. DOI:10.3390/toxins10010036 If you search the VenomZone website and look under the cnidarian section, you will notice most of these toxins are derived from sea anemones (Class Anthozoa, order Actiniaria). My first literature review is a paper about these “quiet

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Species spotlight: Egg Yolk Jellies

One of my favorite activities for outreach are two sheets of beautiful jellyfish photos my lab mate and I made, all with hilarious common names. Of all the different species, most folks can immediately guess the Egg-yolk Jellyfish, Phacellophora camtschatica. P. camtschatica are true jellyfish (Class Scyphozoa, Family Ulmaridae) often confused with the Lion’s Mane’s (Family Cyaneidae). An easy way

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