Narcomedusae are a small and mostly oceanic group of hydromedusae whose tentacle morphology and comportment sets them off behaviourally and perhaps ecologically from most other medusae. Their tentacles are relatively few in number (2–40), stiff, and noncontractile, with points of insertion located well above the bell margin. Eleven species representing eight narcomedusan genera (
Aegina, Aeginura, an undescribed aeginid, Cunina, Pegantha, Solmaris, Solmissus, and Solmundella) were observed and collected in situin the NW Atlantic, Arctic and Antarctic, using scuba and manned submersibles. In life, the tentacles of narcomedusae are nearly always held upwards over the bell or projected laterally. The major prey were other gelatinous zooplankton, especially salps and doliolids. In the laboratory, these relatively large prey were caught on the tentacles which bend inward and coil at the tips to bring food to the mouth. By extending the tentacles perpendicular to the swimming path, these medusae achieve a relatively large encounter area, thus increasing the probability of contact with prey, for the amount of protein invested in tentacles.