What is a Praya dubia?


Quick Answer

Praya dubia, also known as the Giant Siphonophore, is a hydrozoan that lives in the deep sea. Similar in appearance to a jellyfish, Praya dubia is a species of siphonophore, which is a colony made up of numerous organisms. As of 2014, Guinness World Records lists Praya dubia as the longest organism known to science.

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Full Answer

Praya dubia, measuring between 100 and 160 feet long, consists of a dome-like nectosome, also called a swimming bell, and long tentacles. The long, thin tentacles contain cormidia, which have the capacity to sting. Praya dubia can immobilize and kill its prey and can give off a bioluminescent glow.

Each part of a siphonophore’s body is a highly specialized organism that has been adapted for a particular function, such as stinging, reproducing, food consumption or defense. Researchers believe this coordination and specialization among a siphonophore's parts is what makes zooids, a single part of a colonial animal, reliant on each other for survival.

Praya dubia’s existence has been known since the 19th century, but its length was a mystery until 1987, when a study was conducted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Praya dubia is the type of siphonophore most frequently seen in Central California's aquatic bodies.

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