TKSST is taking a short summer break. Become a member to support our August return
The Kid Should See This

Four jellies that diffract rainbow light like iridescent spaceships

Monterey Bay Aquarium has a brilliant YouTube channel for viewing all sorts of beautiful and hard-to-believe creatures. A case in point: these four jellies. Above, The Lobed Comb Jelly, who looks like it’s shimmering with neon lights.

These ctenophores (not to be confused with Cnidaria or jellyfish) diffract light from their locomotory cilia, producing a pulsing rainbow effect, “much like sunlight glancing off a CD” — iridescence (not bioluminescence).

You can see this spaceship-like quality in the fragile spotted comb jelly, too:

The Bloodybelly Comb Jelly video below is from 2009, 30 years after one was first collected off the coast of San Diego, California. They can be deep red, purple, or black, which may hide any bioluminescent prey that it eats, keeping it stealthy in dark waters.

Finally, watch the Beroe forskalii, nicknamed “oven mitt jelly” because its shape allows it to fold over on itself. Fullscreen HD-worthy:

In the archives: KQED Quest’s Amazing Jellies and MBARI’s There’s no such thing as a jellyfish.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

The Mindfulness of the Jellyfish

Rion Nakaya

A sea angel under ice in the White Sea

Rion Nakaya

Cassiopea, a solar-powered jellyfish

Rion Nakaya

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s LIVE Jelly Cams

Rion Nakaya

The allure of fluorescence in the ocean

Rion Nakaya

A human-sized barrel jellyfish near Cornwall

Rion Nakaya

Small fish hide inside a sea jelly

Rion Nakaya

Animals with night vision

Rion Nakaya

Voyage To the Core, a 4K Milky Way time lapse

Rion Nakaya