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Jellyfish Nematocyst

A model and short animation showing a jellyfish cnidocyte cell and the nematocyst within it. The nematocyst is a pressurized subcellular organelle that contains a barbed coil. When stimulated, the pressure forces the barb out at a high speed, resulting in the jellyfish's famous sting.

Client: Nicholas Woolridge

Audience: Cellular biology students

Format: Digital animation

Media: Zbrush, Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects

Date: December 2017


Process Work


In-progress model of the barbed tubule within the pressurized nematocyst rendered in Cinema 4D (left) and view of the scene within the cnidocyte in the Cinema 4D viewport (right).


  • Babonis, Leslie S., and Mark Q. Martindale. 2014. “Old Cell, New Trick? Cnidocytes as a Model for the Evolution of Novelty.” Integrative and Comparative Biology 54 (4): 714–722. doi:10.1093/icb/icu027.

  • Gavelis, Gregory S., Kevin C. Wakeman, Urban Tillmann, Christina Ripken, Satoshi Mitarai, Maria Herranz, Suat Özbek, Thomas Holstein, Patrick J. Keeling, and Brian S. Leander. 2017. “Microbial Arms Race: Ballistic ‘Nematocysts’ in Dinoflagellates Represent a New Extreme in Organelle Complexity.” Science Advances 3 (3). doi:10.1126/sciadv.1602552.

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