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Giant siphonophore

Giant siphonophore

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Praya sp

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    small crustaceans, other gelatinous animals, maybe fish larvae and small fishes

  • Size

    to 130 feet long (40 m), but body is only as thick as a broomstick

  • Relatives

    other siphonophores; Order: Calycophora

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    midwater (2,297-3,281 feet, or 700-1,000 m)

Natural History

Giant siphonophores, like all siphonophores, are a collection of highly specialized working parts. Some parts catch prey, others digest food, some parts reproduce and others direct the action by swimming. This siphonophore is bioluminescent—it creates its own light. When it bumps against something, its stem glows with a bright blue light.


Anything that finds its way into the ocean—whether it's tossed away as trash or washed off a beach or boat—may eventually make its way to the deep sea. It's important to realize that the deep sea is not so far away that it's beyond the reach of human activities. Living creatures in the deep are affected by what we do at the surface.

Cool Facts

This siphonophore can grow to lengths of 130 feet (40 m), longer than the blue whale, which is usually considered Earth's largest animal. But the siphonophore's body is not much bigger around than a broomstick.

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