Nematocyst stinging cell, illustration

Nematocyst stinging cell, illustration

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nematocyst stinging cell. Computer illustration of nematocysts on the tentacle (blue) of a cnidarian. Nematocysts, or cnidocytes, are explosive venomous cells found on Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, sea anemones and corals. They are typically used for self-defence or to capture prey. Each cell contains a thread (cnida, coiled, red) that is fired into the skin of the prey (bottom) to administer the toxin. This thread is fired from a capsule within the nematocyte when a hair-like trigger (cnidocil, red spike) is activated by passing prey.

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