JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Polyps

Jellyfish Polyps picture

Jellyfish Polyps

Jellyfish as a species are as unique as they are fascinating. These dwellers of almost all levels of all marine waters in the world have a extraordinary method of reproduction that involves a combination of both sexual and asexual processes. Jellyfish polyps are one of the many stages of the jellyfish's reproduction cycle. Let us take a brief look at the reproduction cycle of the jellyfish to better understand their polyp stage.

Jellyfish are very simple marine creatures and do not have specialized systems for reproduction unlike many higher order creatures. The jellyfish have males and females. The sperms are developed in the gonads of the male, while eggs are produced in the stomach of the females. The male releases its sperm into the water. When these sperm cells come in contact with the eggs in the female's stomach, they fertilize. During their embryonic stage, they remain attached to the mother's body in her stomach or in brood pouches along her oral arms. As this embryonic stage ends, the larvae then get transformed into free swimming planulae and they detach themselves from the body of their mother. These planulae are tiny and oval shaped and they have minute hair along their sides to facilitate movement.

These planulae float along the surface of the water for some time, before they begin to sink towards the bottom. They seek a hard, stationary object and when they find it, they attach themselves to it. The planula is attached to the hard surface at its base and on the other end is its mouth, through which it continues to feed through this stage. This stage is the polyp phase in the reproduction cycle of the jellyfish.

During this polyp stage, the single polyp that is attached to the surface at its base now begins to develop new polyps from its trunk. This new polyp is identical to the first one in all aspect and is now attached to it through a small feeding tube. This process repeats itself innumerably until a large colony of polyps is formed. This hydroid colony is also stationary and attached to the hard surface and this entire stage is considered to be sessile for that reason.

This colony of polyps continues to feed on its diet of microscopic plankton and zooplankton. The method of feeding developed by these polyp colonies is extraordinary. The individual polyps have cup like mouths with tentacles branching from each mouth. Each polyp has its mouth free of any attachment. It extends its mouth and a ring of tentacles to snag zooplankton. The colony of polyps is connected by an intricate web of feeding tubes, called stems, and they allow the polyp colonies to share food so that each polyp gets adequate food.

This polyp colony can extend to become very large in size. Also, the polyp colony may remain in existence for a long period of time. The process of reproduction does not progress from the polyp until the conditions are just right, and this stage in the cycle of reproduction of jellyfish can extend for years.

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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