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Introducing the Siphonophores!

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Whoa, what's that? It's so colorful! The DEEPEND scientists tell me that this is a siphonophore. Siphonophores belong to the animal group that includes corals and jellyfish. This group is called Cnidaria. Siphonophores are colonial animals. Colonial animals are multiple individuals that are connected and work together. Siphonophores can grow to be 40–50 meters long. That's about the length of a Blue Whale! Siphonophores feel gelatinous. This means they feel like jello! My favorite jello flavor is cherry, how about you?

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Siphonophore--2015-Dant-Fenolio.jpg


Siphonophores are active predators, just like the heteropods we talked about last time. They hunt small fish and crustaceans. When they get close enough, siphonophores use their tentacles to capture and reel in the prey. Some individuals of the colony are responsible for motions that help to move and orientate towards prey while others catch the prey or digest it. Each individual of a siphonophore has its own role to play.

Siphonophores bioluminesce blue or green when they feel threatened. Remember how the Dragonfish uses bioluminescence to attract prey? Well, siphonophores use bioluminescence to try to scare predators.

That's all for today. See you next time!

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Denise is a science education researcher with a strong background in the biological sciences as well as teaching and learning. She holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from The University of Tennessee Knoxville. Denise currently uses her expertise in her position as a laboratory coordinator for general education and majors Biology courses at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Denise takes a scientific approach to her research in order to attain a better understanding of teaching and learning in the biological sciences at all grade levels. She uses her research to drive curriculum development projects for K-12 and higher education instruction. In addition to her science education research Denise conducts biological research studies both in the laboratory and field setting (e.g., biodiversity inventories and genome sequencing). Denise is passionate about sharing her fascination of science and the natural world and as a result she is involved in many public education outreach endeavors.
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