The sea gooseberries or “comb-jellies” are related to the jellyfish family, though they are zoologically a group quite distinct from common jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war. In appearance and size they are very like a completely transparent gooseberry. Between the upper and lower “poles” are eight meridional rows of “combs” consisting of tiny cilia (resembling hairs) which beat rhythmically and propel the animal through the water. It is very common in New Zealand waters, easily captured by means of a plankton net, and its characteristic method of movement makes it an interesting study when placed in a tank or jar of water.
by Richard Morrison Cassie, M.SC.(N.Z.), D.SC.(AUCK.), Senior Lecturer in Zoology, University of Auckland.