|Picture by Robert F. Bolland from the Okinawa Slug site|
During this visit, Curator Bart Shepherd, a colleague of many years from our days at Steinhart Aquarium indulged me in showing off this recent collection from the Academy's scientific expedition to the Philippines: the benthic ctenophore Lyrocteis! Possibly Lyrocteis imperatoris..
Here's the species we saw in the Hawaiian Islands during the Okeanos Explorer cruises in September. In theory.. there are only two species.. the Antarctic one and the tropical Pacific species.
Its possible (and even likely) that there is more diversity (i.e., more species) but the animals don't make it easy to study them.
Why? Because they aren't seen frequently and when they do, collecting is difficult. The individuals
aren't easy to sample and for whatever reasons, the body of these animals is extremely difficult to preserve..so intact specimens aren't generally available to study...
Here were some spectacular red ones from Okinawa..
— Bart Shepherd (@SteinhartBart) May 1, 2015
— SeaKeys (@SeaKeysSA) August 22, 2014
One of the nice things about our modern age is that video and image observations have become easy and of high quality
If you have Facebook, here's a feeding video of the Lyrocteis collected by Steinhart Aquarium from the Philippines..
Here's a nice one of a Japanese species with tentacles extended... from SHINKAYABLOG which translates to "deepsea" blog This is basically similar to the way that swimming comb jellies feed...
|from @deepsealife https://twitter.com/deepsealife/status/605369053209755648|
今回このようなマグネット物も作りました。オオグチボヤとコトクラゲなど pic.twitter.com/cc5hLD16vr— 紀ゐ@デコトコノマ展 (@yu_kiz) September 10, 2013
Dr. Komai, in his 1941 description of this species recounts an interesting story about "when" this species was discovered. Because apparently, although he described it in 1941.. he was NOT the first one to have encountered it!!
What makes the story of the discovery of this remarkable ctenophore more interesting is the fact that another specimen of evidently this form had been obtained previously from the same Sagami Bay and recorded by a Japanese zoologist, but without any idea of its real nature....
...in August, 1896, we find a short note in Japanese by T. N. (obviously Tokichi Nishikawa, the inventor of the famous cultured pearl) entitled " A curious animal" with rather good illustrations, one of which is reproduced in Fig. 3. The accounts and figures clearly show that the 'curious animal' was no other than a specimen of the present platyctenid.
" Nobody who saw it at that time could tell what it was. The real nature of this form thus remained enigmatic only to be made clear forty-five years later."..and don't worry, I haven't given up echinoderms! But travelling makes you appreciate opportunistic topics!!