JANNICKE WIIK-NIELSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JANNICKE WIIK-NIELSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the hydroid, Ectopleura larynx, a fouling organism usually found attached to sunken ropes, floating buoys, mussel shells, rocks and seaweed. The hydroid has two distinct rings of tentacles, one around its mouth and the other at the base of the head. In between these two rings, are the gonophores, or the sexual buds. The hydroid is classified in the phylum Cnidaria, a varied group of animals that also includes corals, sea anemones, sea pens, sea pansies and jellyfishes. Cnidarians are among the most beautiful of all marine invertebrates. Many species have a flower-like look and they are often considered delicate and soft. But beware. Their delicate looks belie their potent nature. Cnidarians possess an armament of stinging cells equipped with nematocysts in their tentacles used to capture and subdue prey. Magnification: x19 when printed at 10cm wide.
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