Escape of the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi from the scyphomedusa predator Chrysaora quinquecirrha
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The ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi A. Agassiz, 1865 is known to be eaten by the scyphomedusan Chrysaora quinquecirrha (Desor, 1948), which can control populations of ctenophores in the tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. In the summer of 1995, we videotaped interactions in large aquaria in order to determine whether M. leidyi was always captured after contact with medusae. Surprisingly, M. leidyi escaped in 97.2% of 143 contacts. The ctenophores increased swimming speed by an average of 300% immediately after contact with tentacles and 600% by mid-escape. When caught in the tentacles of C. quinquecirrha, the ctenophores frequently lost a portion of their body, which allowed them to escape. Lost parts regenerated within a few days. The striking ability of M. leidyi to escape from C. quinquecirrha may be critically important in maintaining ctenophore populations in situ.
KeywordsSwimming Speed Mnemiopsis Leidyi Large Aquarium Increase Swimming Speed Chrysaora Quinquecirrha
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