Salps and Comb Jellies

Salps and Ctenophores, or comb jellies, are semi-transparent. Salps are an important food item for many fishes. Ctenophores vaguely resemble jellyfish however they do not sting.

Salp Thaliacea

Peter Parks © Image Quest 3-D

Salps are semi-transparent barrel-shaped marine animals that move through the water by contracting bands of muscles which ring the body (the body is referred to as a test). These contractions draw water in the front of the test and out the rear. There are about 70 species of salps worldwide, with more than 20 found in southern Australian waters. Salps are classified in the Phylum Urochordata and Class Thaliacea. They are related to all the animals with backbones (Phylum Chordata).

Ctenophores, or comb jellies (Phylum Ctenophora) are semi-transparent gelatinous animals which are often ovoid or flattened. They move through the water by beating tiny hairs called cilia which run in eight comb-like plates along the length of the animal. Ctenophores vaguely resemble jellyfish however they do not sting. Most species have two elongate, sticky tentacles which are used to capture crustaceans and fishes for food. There are about 100 species worldwide. Image courtesy of the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) website.

Salps are an important food item for many fishes including the Smalleye Squaretail, Chinaman Leatherjacket, Ocean Sunfish, and the Blue-ringed Angelfish.


References:

1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
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Tags Salp, Comb Jellies, Ctenophore, Urochordata, Ctenophora, Fishes, Ichthyology,