, Volume 216, Issue 1, pp 319–325 | Cite as

Swimming movements of ctenophores, and the mechanics of propulsion by ctene rows

  • G. I. Matsumoto
Proceedings V. Pelagic coelenterates


This study focuses on the mechanics of ciliary movement of ctenophores in relation to locomotion and feeding, with field and laboratory observations documented with 35 mm photographs and video sequences. Movement through the water is strongly modified by subtleties of body morphology. Whereas the entire ctenophore moves in a flow regime where the Reynolds numbers range from 100 to 6000, the cilia on the surface of the ctenophores move in a flow regime where the Reynolds numbers range only from 10 to 300. The water flow patterns seen by use of fluorescein dye do not match any current model of ciliary flow and assumptions for a new model are postulated. Ctenophores exhibit a wide variety of morphological adaptations that reduce drag, and a variety of behaviours that exploit fine-scale water movements for prey capture.

Key words

Leucothea Cestum Mertensia Beroe locomotion fluid mechanics feeding Reynolds number ciliary propulsion underwater video jet propulsion swimming ctene plate propulsion 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. I. Matsumoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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