RESOURCES: The Life Gelatinous

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Science  12 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5737, pp. 995
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5737.995e

The world's longest animals don't have a mouth bristling with baleen or even a skeleton. Reaching 40 meters, the record-holders are siphonophores, relatives of jellyfish and corals. Get a peek at the marine predators, such as the deep-sea resident Marrus orthocanna, with this primer* from Yale grad student Casey Dunn. A siphonophore is a squishy commune, made of multiple units called zooids, each of which resembles an individual animal. Pages explain how one zooid gives rise to a siphonophore's elongated body. The site also showcases a new deep-sea species, which Dunn and co-workers recently reported in Science, that lures its prey with glowing tentacles (8 July, p. 263).

To snare more information about jellyfish and their kin, check out the Jellies Zone, from curatorial associate David Wrobel of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. You can read up on groups of gelatinous creatures that live along the U.S. Pacific Coast, peruse a jellies FAQ, and browse galleries crammed with spectacular photos.

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