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is the term used to describe the fragile animals that live in the water column in the ocean. They have very delicate bodies that are easily damaged or destroyed. Gelatinous zooplankton are often transparent. All jellyfish
Jellyfish are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. Medusa is another word for jellyfish, and refers to any free-swimming jellyfish stages in the phylum Cnidaria...
are gelatinous zooplankton, but not all gelatinous zooplankton are jellyfish. The most commonly encountered organisms include ctenophore
The Ctenophora are a phylum of animals that live in marine waters worldwide. Their most distinctive feature is the "combs", groups of cilia that they use for swimming, and they are the largest animals that swim by means of cilia – adults of various species range from a few millimeters to in size...
s, medusae, salps, and Chaetognatha
Chaetognatha, meaning hair-jaws, and commonly known as arrow worms, are a phylum of predatory marine worms that are a major component of plankton worldwide. About 20% of the known species are benthic, that is belonging to the lowest zone of the ocean, or benthic zone, and can attach to algae and...
in coastal waters. However, almost all marine phyla, including Annelida, Mollusca
The Mollusca , common name molluscs or mollusksSpelled mollusks in the USA, see reasons given in Rosenberg's ; for the spelling mollusc see the reasons given by , is a large phylum of invertebrate animals. There are around 85,000 recognized extant species of molluscs. Mollusca is the largest...
and Arthropoda, contain gelatinous species, but many of those odd species live in the open ocean and the deep sea and are less available to the casual ocean observer. Gelatinous zooplankton have also been called "Gelata".