Cast of Charniodiscus arboreus, copyright Tina Negus.

Belongs within: Coelenterata.
Contains: Lobata.

The Ctenophora, comb jellies, are a group of gelatinous marine animals characterised by bands of cilia (comb rows) running longitudinally down the body. Most ctenophores have eight such bands but early fossil members of the group possessed greater numbers.

While the majority of modern comb jellies are free-living predators, some recent authors have suggested a relationship between the modern ctenophores and the sessile Ediacaran to Lower Cambrian Rangeomorpha due to a supposed similarity between the ciliated branches of the latter and ctenophore comb rows (Shu et al. 2006). The Rangeomorpha has been treated in the past as part of a broader group of sessile Ediacaran organisms known as the Petalonamae; though listed below as a single taxon for convenience, this group is almost certainly polyphyletic and many should probably be placed elsewhere in the animal family tree.

Characters (from Miller & Harley 1996, for crown group): Biradially symmetrical; diplobastic, with gelatinous mesogloea present between epidermal and gastrodermal tissue layers; gastrovascular canal system present; nervous system in form of nerve net; colloblasts (external adhesive cells) present; meridionally arranged ciliary bands (comb rows) present.

<==Ctenophora [Beroes]
    |--BeroeHMR01 [BeroidaOX15, Nuda]
    |    |--B. abyssicola Mortensen 1927HMR01
    |    |--‘Medusa’ beroe Linnaeus 1758 (n. d.)DB07
    |    |--B. cucumisC-SC03
    |    |--B. elongatus Risso 1826R26
    |    |--B. gracilisMS98
    |    |--B. ovataLGJ03
    |    `--B. pileusG20
       |  |--Fasciculus vesanus Simonetta & Delle Cave 1978OX15, NS93
       |  `--+--Ctenorhabdotus capulusOX15, CM98
       |     `--ScleroctenophoraOX15
       |          |--Gemmactena Ou, Xiao et al. 2015OX15
       |          |    `--*G. actinala Ou, Xiao et al. 2015OX15
       |          |--Thaumactena Ou, Xiao et al. 2015OX15
       |          |    `--*T. ensis Ou, Xiao et al. 2015OX15
       |          |--Galeactena Ou, Xiao et al. 2015OX15
       |          |    `--*G. hemispherica Ou, Xiao et al. 2015OX15
       |          |--Batofasciculus Hou et al. 1999OX15
       |          |    `--*B. ramificans Hou et al. 1999OX15
       |          |--Maotianoascus Chen & Zhou 1997OX15
       |          |    `--*M. octonarius Chen & Zhou 1997OX15
       |          `--Trigoides Luo & Hu 1999OX15
       |               `--*T. aclis Luo & Hu 1999OX15
       `--+--+--CestusRO69 [CestidaOX15]
          |  |    `--C. venerisRO69
          |  `--+--ThalassocalycidaOX15
          |     `--+--GaneshidaOX15
          |        `--LobataOX15
                  |  i. s.: Haeckelia rubraH04
                  |         CallianiraH04
                  |           |--C. antarcticaPO99
                  |           |--C. bialataH04
                  |           |--C. diplopteraG20
                  |           `--C. triplopteraG20
                  |         Tinerfe cyaneaH04
                       |--Hormiphora foliosaH04
                       |--Lampetia pancerinaH04
                       |--Minictena Carré & Carré 1993CC93
                       |    `--*M. luteola Carré & Carré 1993CC93
                            |--P. atlanticaPP15
                            |--P. bacheiPP15
                            `--P. pileusLG03
Ctenophora incertae sedis:
  Bathyctena chuni (Moser 1909)HMR01
  Coeloplana astericolaBK77
  Mertensia ovumB26
  Euplokamis dunlapaePP15
  Dryodora glandiformisPP15
  Sinoascus palilatusC12
  Lampea pancerina [incl. Gastrodes parasiticum]MS98
  Archeocydippida hunsreckiana Stanley & Sturmer 1987NS93
  Paleoctenophora brasseli Stanley & Sturmer 1983NS93
  Idia macrostomaG20

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BK77] Barel, C. D. N., & P. G. N. Kramers. 1977. A survey of the echinoderm associates of the north-east Atlantic area. Zoologische Verhandelingen 156: 1–159.

[B26] Bigelow, H. B. 1926. Plankton of the offshore waters of the Gulf of Maine. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 40 (2): 1–509.

[CC93] Carré, C., & D. Carré. 1993. Minictena luteola, genre et espèce nouveaux de cténophore Cydippida Méditerranéen a cinq types de colloblastes. Beaufortia 43 (10): 168–175.

[C-SC03] Cavalier-Smith, T., & E. E.-Y. Chao. 2003. Phylogeny of Choanozoa, Apusozoa, and other Protozoa and early eukaryote megaevolution. Journal of Molecular Evolution 56: 540–563.

[C12] Chen, J.-Y. 2012. Evolutionary scenario of the early history of the animal kingdom: evidence from Precambrian (Ediacaran) Weng’an and Early Cambrian Maotianshan biotas, China. In: Talent, J. A. (ed.) Earth and Life: Global biodiversity, extinction intervals and biogeographic perturbations through time pp. 239–379. Springer.

[CM98] Conway Morris, S. 1998. The Crucible of Creation. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

[DB07] Daly, M., M. R. Brugler, P. Cartwright, A. G. Collins, M. N. Dawson, D. G. Fautin, S. C. France, C. S. McFadden, D. M. Opresko, E. Rodriguez, S. L. Romano & J. L. Stake. 2007. The phylum Cnidaria: a review of phylogenetic patterns and diversity 300 years after Linnaeus. Zootaxa 1668: 127–182.

[G20] Goldfuss, G. A. 1820. Handbuch der Naturgeschichte vol. 3. Handbuch der Zoologie pt 1. Johann Leonhard Schrag: Nürnberg.

[H04] Haeckel, E. 1899–1904. Kunstformen der Natur. Bibliographisches Institut: Leipzig und Wien.

[HMR01] Harbison, G. R., G. I. Matsumoto & B. H. Robison. 2001. Lampocteis cruentiventer gen. nov., sp. nov.: a new mesopelagic lobate ctenophore, representing the type of a new family (class Tentaculata, order Lobata, family Lampoctenidae, fam. nov.) Bulletin of Marine Science 68 (2): 299–311.

[LG03] Lancelot, C., & R. Groben. 2003. Meeting report: Regional conference on the ecology and impact assessment of Phaeocystis blooms in the Eastern Channel and Southern Bight of the North Sea. Protist 154 (2): 173–176.

[MS98] Margulis, L., & K. V. Schwartz. 1998. Five Kingdoms: An Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth 3rd ed. W. H. Freeman and Company: New York.

Miller, S. A., & J. P. Harley. 1996. Zoology 3rd ed. Wm. C. Brown Publishers: Dubuque (Iowa).

[NS93] Nudds, J. R., & J. J. Sepkoski Jr. 1993. Coelenterata. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 101–124. Chapman & Hall: London.

[OX15] Ou, Q., S. Xiao, J. Han, G. Sun, F. Zhang, Z. Zhang & D. Shu. 2015. A vanished history of skeletonization in Cambrian comb jellies. Science Advances 1: e1500092.

[PO99] Pagès, F., & C. Orejas. 1999. Medusae, siphonophores and ctenophores of the Magellan region. Scientia Marina 63 (Suppl. 1): 51–57.

[PP15] Pisani, D., W. Pett, M. Dohrmann, R. Feuda, O. Rota-Stabelli, H. Philippe, N. Lartillot & G. Wörheide. 2015. Genomic data do not support comb jellies as the sister group to all other animals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 112 (50): 15402–15407.

[RO69] Riedl, R., & B. Ozretic. 1969. Hydrobiology of marginal caves. Part I. General problems and introduction. Internationale Revue ges. Hydrobiol. 54 (5): 661–683.

[R26] Risso, A. 1826. Histoire naturelle des principales productions de l’Europe méridionale et particulièrement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes maritimes vol. 5. F.-G. Levrault: Paris.

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