The Velarium of a Cubozoan

Cubozoan Velarium -- Not a Fish!
No, that is not some weird fish. That is just an odd angle view into the bell of a box jelly. What it shows really nicely (besides the rhopalia and eyes is the velarium, a ring of tissue that extends around the bottom inside of the bell. When the medusa contracts during swimming, increased thrust is created because the velarium narrows the opening at the bottom of the bell. The velarium increases the efficiency of the jet propulsion. Presumably, the velarium is at least partly responsible for the great speeds with which cubozoans are able to swim. In the close-up below, you can see velarial canals. These canals are extensions of the gut and they are very important in telling one species of cubozoan from another.

The Velarial Canals of a Cubozoan

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