From the March 2021 issue of 48° North.

Imagine, if you will, it’s a spring evening and you glance over the rail. A small round and luminous clear orb of jelly the size of a marble seems to swim by your boat. It’s underwater and goes by in a determined way. On closer observation, you realize there are rows of thousands of almost microscopic arms waving like little oars propelling it along. As you watch its rainbow shimmering, almost like it’s emitting light from within, the little orb stops, starts, then dives away into the darkness. This, my friends, is a Sea Gooseberry. Not a jellyfish and not even related to them, but an animal! The Sea Gooseberry is a carnivore looking for small crustaceans, larval fish, and other morsels for an evening sea-side meal. By day, it hangs deep, down to 150 feet, then at dusk it rises towards the surface like a little crystal balloon — a Hollywood-worthy submarine surfacing act.

Some call these “comb bearing” jellys, referring to the series of lined little combs that move in a wave-like manner for propulsion; but they also have two other sets of almost invisible tentacles. These are sort of sticky snares — traps to catch food. One might think something called a Sea Gooseberry would be a primitive creature, but after it snares a possible meal, the little animal just holds it for a while as if looking it over, discerning if it’s nutritious, safe, and worthy of becoming dinner. If it decides not, it just turns the lucky creature loose and goes about its way. Imagine that! A picky eater.