A specialized cell in the tentacles of a jellyfish or other coelenterate, containing a barbed or venomous coiled thread that can be projected in self-defence or to capture prey.
- Casually touching many cnidarians will make it clear how they got their name when their nematocysts eject barbed threads tipped with poison.
- If collar cells and spicules are defining characteristics of the Phylum Porifera, then nematocysts define cnidarians.
- As a feeding adaptation, the anemones are equipped with stinging cells called nematocysts, which are triggered as soon as a tentacle touches a living organism, paralyzing it upon contact.
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