Bathyphysa conifera

species of cnidarian

Bathyphysa conifera, is a species of siphonophore. They live about 1000 to 4000 meters below the ocean. This depth is called the bathypelagic zone.[1]

(The small line in the image is about 2cm)

Bathyphysa conifera was nicknamed the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" by the oil workers who first saw it. Its cluster of reproductive structures called gonophores look a bit like cones.

Bathyphysa conifera is found in the Atlantic Ocean: off the coast of Gabon and as far south as Angola. It is also in Monterey Bay in the Pacific Ocean.

These colonial organisms are all composites: they are groups of organisms, not single organisms. This is usual for the jellyfish called siphonophores. It is a group of polyps with no propulsion. Without propulsion, B. conifera moves by contracting and relaxing the body stem. The tentacles have stinging cells called nematocysts.

The entire animal, including tentacles, is several meters long. The feeding polyps are pink when young, before developing tentacles. A mature feeding polyp is yellow with a single tentacle.

Colonies are unisexual, and reproduce by asexual reproduction.



Like many siphonophores, it is carnivorous. The typical siphonophore diet consists of a variety of copepods, small crustaceans, and small fish. B. conifera has been seen eating a lanternfish.

A species of manefish in the genus Caristius associates mutualistically with B. conifera, using it for shelter, stealing meals, and perhaps nibbling on its host as well. The fish protects it from amphipod parasites like Themisto.


  1. Schuchert P. & Mapstone G. 2013. Bathyphysa conifera (Studer, 1878). In: Schuchert P. 2017. World Hydrozoa database. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at [1] Archived 2016-10-07 at the Wayback Machine on 2017-09-01