The Nematocyst: apex of organelle specialization

Speaking of explosives, the nematocyst, or stinging cell, is one character that binds all cnidarians together. The nematocyst is “high tech cellular weaponry”, the unparalleled apex of organelle specialization (Boero et al 2007), and the fastest known biological structure (Tardent, 1995). From ScienceDaily, the discharge kinetics of nematocysts in Hydra to be as short as 700 nanoseconds, creating an acceleration of up to 5,410,000 g. Take that mantis shrimp! A dramatization is above, with narration in French.


1. Boero et al. 2007. Cnidarian milestones in metazoan evolution. Int Comp Bio 47:5.
2. Tardent, P. 1995. The cnidarian cnidocyte, a high-tech cellular weaponry. Bioessays
17(4): 351- 362.

3 Replies to “The Nematocyst: apex of organelle specialization”

  1. What wonderful photography and thank you so much for letting us hear the commentary in French, without some annoying voice-over ruining it!

  2. Yeah, I like to let the French just wash over me. Reminds me of good old Jacques Cousteau- “c’est tent-a-coool”

  3. Yeah, well the smooth French commentary aside, I know a set up when I see it – that poor bloody goby was pushed & prodded into a certian death….Save Gobies from Exploitation!!

Comments are closed.