information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A comb jelly (Beroe cucumis)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.



Beroe cucumis is a medium-sized, sack-shaped comb jelly. It may reach up to 15 cm in length. It is completely transparent in colour. It swims with eight longitudinal combs that give the comb jellies (ctenophores) their characteristic shimmering appearance. These combs consist of plates of transverse rows of hairs that beat in waves downwards, which produces the shimmering effect. These plates are phosphorescent at night.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded off the west and northern coasts of Scotland and the coasts of Wales. Possibly under recorded.

Global distribution



The comb jelly Beroe cucumis is a pelagic species.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Transparent sack-shaped body up to 15 cm in length.
  • Radially symmetrical with secondary bilateral symmetry.
  • Eight longitudinal rows of combs of equal length.
  • No tentacles.
  • Branched gastrovascular system unlike Beroe gracilis.

Additional information

Beroe cucumis is carnivorous and feeds on other comb jellies, particularly Bolinopsis infundibulum. Instead of sticky tentacles or large oral lobes, the large mouth is used to engulf prey whole (Greve, 1975).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Greve, W., 1975. Ctenophora. ICES Plankton Identification Leaflets, 146.

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  4. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2018-09-22


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Beroe cucumis A comb jelly. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 22-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 07/04/2008