Bathocyroe fosteri

Bathocyroe fosteri is a species of lobate ctenophore found in all oceans around the world. It is typically found at intermediate depths and is very abundant near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This deep-sea comb jelly is named for Alvin (DSV-2) pilot Dudley Foster, who is credited with first collecting the specimens.

This specimen measures about two inches tall and is bioluminescent. This species, as well as other ctenophores, reproduce sexually, with little to know self-fertilization known. After the fertilized eggs have divided twice, the ctenophore’s later body symmetry has already been set. The larvae develop over a free-floating cydippea state (having long pinnate tentacles).

This cydippea state is similar in all ctenophores and is sometimes labeled as a larval stage, but in reality this is a miniature state of what the creature will grow up to be. Among some extremely specialized groups, the cydippea and adult form takes separate ecological niches, so that the larval label seems more appropriate.

Image Caption: This is an example of a ctenophore, Bathocyroe fosteri, which is a mesopelagic species. Credit: Marsh Youngbluth/Wikipedia