Apolemia uvaria

Geographic Range

Apolemia uvaria is said to be found in the Mediterranean Sea (Telnes 2020). It is also known to be found in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, specifically in the Celtic Sea and the North Sea (Telnes 2020). Its range extends from approximate latitudes 38°N to 69.7°N and longitudes 6.4°W to 18.7°E (GBIF 2019). (Couwelaar, 2003; Global Biodiversity Information Facility, 2019; Telnes, 2020)


Apolemia uvaria lives in the ocean and can be found at depths of up to 1000 meters. However, it can be found at the surface as well. Apolemia uvaria is typically found in the deep sea, although can be seen at the water surface in shallow coastal areas (Telnes 2020). (Minchin, 1987; Telnes, 2020)

  • Range depth
    1000 to 0 m
    3280.84 to 0.00 ft
  • Average depth
    100 m
    328.08 ft

Physical Description

Apolemia uvaria is a marine organism that varies in length from 20 to 120 m. It is a siphonophore, a Cnidarian in the order Siphonophora. The colony of A. uvaria consists of about 12 zooids or individuals on the nectosome region measuring about 15 to 20 m and the siphosome region will be about 20 m. On the nectosome, the nectophores are the zooids responsible for swimming and are a reddish-brown color. The siphosome is the area where the rest of the zooids are located, which are not responsible for swimming (Dunn 2005). (Båmstedt, et al., 1998; Dunn, 2005)

  • Range length
    20 to 120 m
    65.62 to 393.70 ft
  • Average length
    30 m
    98.43 ft


Apolemia uvaria participates in a planktonic life cycle (Figueroa and Garces, 2010). There are separate female and male organisms of A. uvaria. Growth occurs through mitosis and asexual reproduction. The sexual stage occurs through meiosis and creates a diploid protozooid, which is a polyp that is randomly released into the water. Eventually, the protozooid buds or asexually reproduces to create new zooids that will form a new colony (Dunn 2005). Then quiescence occurs, immobile stage with a low metabolic rate, forming a cyst. Next is senescence, or when the colony declines and then dies. (Dunn, 2005; Figueroa and Garces, 2010)


Apolemia uvaria can also reproduce sexually, although it is random. A male A. uvaria will release sperm into the water and it will reach a female to fertilize an egg. This diploid protozooid will then reproduce asexually to create a colony (Hiscock et al. 2010). (Hiscock, et al., 2010)

Apolemia uvaria asexually reproduces in a single colony (Seibert et al. 2013). All of the members in a colony are genetically the identical to the original fertilized egg. The exact age of sexual maturity is unknown. However, female A. uvaria will release numerous fertilized eggs into the water that will individually asexually reproduce to form a colony. Scientific samples are typically taken from the anterior end of the colony, which contains immature gonads (NBDC, 2016). Due to this, the knowledge of reproduction is limited. (National Biodiversity Data Centre, 2016; Siebert, et al., 2013)

What is known is the colony is formed from a single fertilized egg that goes through asexual reproduction or budding (Dunn, 2005). Due to this, it can be assumed that little to no parental investment occurs. (Dunn, 2005)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement


Apolemia uvaria lives a planktonic life cycle, and it can be assumed to have a lifespan of a couple of days for each zooid, as plankton only live a couple of days (Lindsey and Scott, 2010). In a laboratory setting, it was determined the complete life cycle of one species of siphonophore (Muggiaea kochi) was about two to three weeks with controlled temperature (Carre and Carre, 1991). (Carré and Carré, 1991; Lindsey and Scott, 2010)


Apolemia uvaria is a colonial species in which each individual serves a particular purpose (Telnes, 2020). Individual A. uvaria either gather food, participate in reproduction, or aid in propelling the colony. Apolemia uvaria is highly interdependent because the specialized zooids can only perform their specific function and must rely on the other group of zooids (Dunn, 2005). (Dunn, 2005; Telnes, 2020)

Communication and Perception

Apolemia uvaria has different roles for each individual zooid (Telnes, 2020). Zooids are separated into the nectosome and siphosome regions in the colony (Dunes, 2005). The communication within these regions is unknown at this time. (Telnes, 2020)

Food Habits

Food habits information is limited but A. uvaria is a carnivore. Just like most Cnidarians, A. uvaria has venom that can be used to kill large fishes (Telnes, 2020). Prey can be small crustaceans (e.g. copepods, krill), fish, and other siphonophores (MBARI, 2017). (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 2017; Telnes, 2020)

  • Animal Foods
  • fish
  • aquatic crustaceans
  • cnidarians


Apolemia uvaria has venom that it uses to kill their prey, and it may use this against predators (Telnes 2020). (Telnes, 2020)

Ecosystem Roles

Apolemia uvaria belongs to the deep-sea community. It is a predator to crustaceans (e.g., copepods and krill) and some fish (MBARI, 2017). (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 2017)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Since this species is mostly a deep-sea creature, they are not known to positively impact humans. They have also rarely been researched.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Contact with the A. uvaria can hurt, but cannot kill you. There was a case when there was a surge of dead fish on the Norwegian coast that impacted the fishing industry (Telnes 2020). (Telnes, 2020)

  • Negative Impacts
  • injures humans

Conservation Status

Apolemia uvaria is not listed under any conservation legislation and populations have not been estimated.

Other Comments

There remains much to be discovered about the basic life history of Apolemia uvaria.


Treasure Morgan (author), Colorado State University, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


Atlantic Ocean

the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.

World Map


reproduction that is not sexual; that is, reproduction that does not include recombining the genotypes of two parents


an animal that mainly eats meat


the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.


used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.

colonial growth

animals that grow in groups of the same species, often refers to animals which are not mobile, such as corals.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


an animal that mainly eats fish


an animal which has a substance capable of killing, injuring, or impairing other animals through its chemical action (for example, the skin of poison dart frogs).


the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

radial symmetry

a form of body symmetry in which the parts of an animal are arranged concentrically around a central oral/aboral axis and more than one imaginary plane through this axis results in halves that are mirror-images of each other. Examples are cnidarians (Phylum Cnidaria, jellyfish, anemones, and corals).

saltwater or marine

mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.


an animal which has an organ capable of injecting a poisonous substance into a wound (for example, scorpions, jellyfish, and rattlesnakes).


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