Giant Siphonophore praya

Giant Siphonophore praya. Oil on canvas on panel, ©tanya_young 2020.

Siphonophore looks like one gigantic animal—130 feet or more, longer than a blue whale—but is actually “many thousands of individuals which form an entity on a higher level.” (Stefan Siebert). Each individual “zooid” (clone) has its own specialized function for the survival of the colony, i.e. capturing prey, navigation, reproduction. Most zooids are so specialized, they can’t survive on their own. Because they are clones, all the zooids are genetically identical. Siphonophore lives in the pelagic zone, the water column of the open ocean.

Detail, ROSEBUD WHALE FALL, Oil on canvas on panel, ©Tanya Young 2020.