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siphonophore rhizophysa

Dancing in the dark

Three views of one animal look like a magical dancing sprite in the night sea. A relative of the Man-o’-War, the predatory siphonophore Rhizophysa, is four inches high when contracted (middle) but its stinging tentacles stretch to a couple of feet when fishing. A scuba diver captured this one in the mid-Atlantic, and part of its DNA was analyzed and recorded for the Census of Marine Zooplankton project. This image is featured on the cover the 2010 WHOI wall calendar, which is available for purchase online or in the Ocean Science Exhibit Center.

 

(Photo by Larry Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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