#5266 – Comb Jelly
2018 50c Bioluminescent Life
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate- Forever
Issued: February 22, 2018
First Day City: Fort Pierce, FL
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 40,000,000 stamps
Found in the middle depths of oceans around the world, the comb jelly puts on two types of light shows – one through light reflections and one through bioluminescence.
Measuring just about two inches tall, the bioluminescent comb jelly can be found all around the world but is most prominent near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Comb jellies are the largest known animals that use cilia for movement. When they swim in areas where there is light, the light reflects off their eight rows of tiny cilia, creating a stunning rainbow of colors. Though, this rainbow effect is not the same as bioluminescence.
The comb jelly has proteins in some of its tissues that produce a chemical reaction to certain stimuli, including touch. When activated, these tissues will flash bright blue or green. Comb jellies often exhibit their bioluminescence to attract food, scare away predators, or to attract even larger creatures to eat their attackers.
In recent years, scientists discovered that comb jellies have 10 different photoproteins that allow them to produce longer or brighter bioluminescent light displays. They believe further study of these proteins might help shed light on the evolution of vision and help us to better understand eye diseases.