A polyp in zoology is one of two forms found in the phylum Cnidaria, the other being the medusa. Polyps are roughly cylindrical in shape and elongated at the axis of the vase-shaped body. In solitary polyps, the aboral (opposite to oral) end is attached to the substrate by means of a disc-like holdfast called a pedal disc, while in colonies of polyps it is connected to other polyps, either directly or indirectly. The oral end contains the mouth, and is surrounded by a circlet of tentacles.
In the class Anthozoa, comprising the sea anemones and corals, the individual is always a polyp; in the class Hydrozoa, however, the individual may be either a polyp or a medusa,with most species undergoing a life cycle with both a polyp stage and a medusa stage. In class Scyphozoa, the medusa stage is dominant, and the polyp stage may or may not be present, depending on the family. In those scyphozoans that have the larval planula metamorphose into a polyp, the polyp, also called a "scyphistoma," grows until it develops a stack of plate-like medusae that pinch off and swim away in a process known as strobilation. Once strobilation is complete, the polyp may die, or regenerate itself to repeat the process again later. With Cubozoans, the planula settles onto a suitable surface, and develops into a polyp. The cubozoan polyp then eventually metamorphoses directly into a Medusa.
The body of the polyp may be roughly compared in a structure to a sac, the wall of which is composed of two layers of cells. The outer layer is known technically as the ectoderm, the inner layer as the endoderm (or gastroderm). Between ectoderm and endoderm is a supporting layer of structureless gelatinous substance termed mesoglea, secreted by the cell layers of the body wall.The mesoglea can be thinner than the endoderm or ectoderm or comprise the bulk of the body as in larger jellyfish. The mesoglea can contain skeletal elements derived from cells migrated from ectoderm.
The sac-like body built up in this way is attached usually to some firm object by its blind end, and bears at the upper end the mouth which is surrounded by a circle of tentacles which resemble glove fingers. The tentacles are organs which serve both for the tactile sense and for the capture of food.Polyps extend their tentacles, particularly at night, containing coiled stinging nettle-like cells or nematocysts which pierce and poison and firmly hold living prey paralysing or killing them. Polyp prey includes copepods and fish larvae. Longitudinal muscular fibrils formed from the cells of the ectoderm allow tentacles to contract when conveying the food to the mouth. Similarly, circularly disposed muscular fibrils formed from the endoderm permit tentacles to be protract or thrust out once they are contracted. These muscle fibres belong to the same two systems, thus allows the whole body to retract or protrude outwards.
We can distinguish therefore in the body of a polyp the column, circular or oval in section, forming the trunk, resting on a base or foot and surmounted by the crown of tentacles, which enclose an area termed the peristome, in the centre of which again is the mouth. As a rule there is no other opening to the body except the mouth, but in some cases excretory pores are known to occur in the foot, and pores may occur at the tips of the tentacles. Thus it is seen that a polyp is an animal of very simple structure,a living fossil that has not changed significantly for about half a billion years (per generally accepted dating of Cambrian sedimentary rock).
The external form of the polyp varies greatly in different cases. The column may be long and slender, or may be so short in the vertical direction that the body becomes disk-like. The tentacles may number many hundreds or may be very few, in rare cases only one or two. They may be long and filamentous, or short and reduced to mere knobs or warts. They may be simple and unbranched, or they may be feathery in pattern. The mouth may be level with the surface of the peristome, or may be projecting and trumpet-shaped. As regards internal structure, polyps exhibit two well-marked types of organization, each characteristic of one of the two classes, Hydrozoa and Anthozoa.
In the class Hydrozoa, the polyps are indeed often very simple, like the common little fresh water species of the genus Hydra . Anthozoan polyps, including the corals and sea anemones, are much more complex due to the development of a tubular stomodaeum leading inward from the mouth and a series of radial partitions called mesenteries. Many of the mesenteries project into the enteric cavity but some extend from the body wall to the central stomodaeum.
It is an almost universal attribute of polyps to reproduce asexually by the method of budding. This mode of reproduction may be combined with sexual reproduction, or may be the sole method by which the polyp produces offspring, in which case the polyp is entirely without sexual organs.
In many cases the buds formed do not separate from the parent but remain in continuity with it, thus forming colonies or stocks, which may reach a great size and contain a vast number of individuals. Slight differences in the method of budding produce great variations in the form of the colonies. The reef-building corals are polyp-colonies, strengthened by the formation of a firm skeleton.
Among sea anemones, sexual plasticity may occur. That is, asexually produced clones derived from a single founder individual can contain both male and female individuals (ramets).When eggs and sperm (gametes) are formed, they can produce zygotes derived from “selfing” (within the founding clone) or out-crossing, that then develop into swimming planula larvae.
The overwhelming majority of stony coral ( Scleractinia ) taxa are hermaphroditic in their adult colonies.In these species, there is ordinarily synchronized release of eggs and sperm into the water during brief spawning events. Although some species are capable of self-fertilization to varying extents, cross-fertilization appears to be the dominant mating pattern.
The name polyp was given by René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur : poulpe, ultimately from Ancient Greek adverb πολύ (poly, "much") + noun πούς (pous, "foot")), with its circle of writhing arms round the mouth. This comparison contrasts to the common name "coral-insects" applied to the polyps which form coral.to these organisms from their superficial resemblance to an octopus (French
75% of the world's corals are threateneddue to overfishing, destructive fishing, coastal development, pollution, thermal stress, ocean acidification, crown-of-thorns starfish, and introduced invasive species.
In recent decades the conditions that corals and polyps have found themselves in have been changing, leading to new diseases being observed in corals in many parts of the world, posing even greater risk to an already pressured animal.Aquatic life has been put under a substantial amount of stress because of the pollutants caused by land-based agriculture. Particularly, exposure to the insecticide profenofos and the fungicide MEMC have played a major part in polyp retraction and biomass decrease. There have been many experiments resulting supporting hypothesis that heat stress in Acropora tenuis juvenile polyp provoke an up-regulation of protein in the endoplasmic reticulum. The results vary based on the polyp characteristics such as age, type, and growth stage.
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Cnidaria is a phylum under kingdom Animalia containing over 11,000 species of aquatic animals found both in freshwater and marine environments, predominantly the latter.
Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Coral species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.
Hydrozoa are a taxonomic class of individually very small, predatory animals, some solitary and some colonial, most living in salt water. The colonies of the colonial species can be large, and in some cases the specialized individual animals cannot survive outside the colony. A few genera within this class live in fresh water. Hydrozoans are related to jellyfish and corals and belong to the phylum Cnidaria.
Obelia is a genus of hydrozoans, a class of mainly marine and some freshwater animal species that have both polyp and medusa stages in their life cycle. Hydrozoa belongs to the phylum Cnidaria, which are aquatic organisms that are relatively simple in structure.
Anthozoa is a class of marine invertebrates which includes the sea anemones, stony corals and soft corals. Adult anthozoans are almost all attached to the seabed, while their larvae can disperse as part of the plankton. The basic unit of the adult is the polyp; this consists of a cylindrical column topped by a disc with a central mouth surrounded by tentacles. Sea anemones are mostly solitary, but the majority of corals are colonial, being formed by the budding of new polyps from an original, founding individual. Colonies are strengthened by calcium carbonate and other materials and take various massive, plate-like, bushy or leafy forms.
Scleractinia, also called stony corals or hard corals, are marine animals in the phylum Cnidaria that build themselves a hard skeleton. The individual animals are known as polyps and have a cylindrical body crowned by an oral disc in which a mouth is fringed with tentacles. Although some species are solitary, most are colonial. The founding polyp settles and starts to secrete calcium carbonate to protect its soft body. Solitary corals can be as much as 25 cm (10 in) across but in colonial species the polyps are usually only a few millimetres in diameter. These polyps reproduce asexually by budding, but remain attached to each other, forming a multi-polyp colony of clones with a common skeleton, which may be up to several metres in diameter or height according to species.
Medusozoa is a clade in the phylum Cnidaria, and is often considered a subphylum. It includes the classes Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, Staurozoa and Cubozoa, and possibly the parasitic Polypodiozoa. Medusozoans are distinguished by having a medusa stage in their often complex life cycle, a medusa typically being an umbrella-shaped body with stinging tentacles around the edge. With the exception of some Hydrozoa, all are called jellyfish in their free-swimming medusa phase.
Carybdea is a genus of venomous box jellyfish within the family Carybdeidae that currently consists of a total of 8 species. This genus of jellyfish are often found in warm waters around the world in waters such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and off the coast of Africa. Their sting can cause a range of effects depending on the species. These invertebrates will go through both sexual and asexual reproduction as they transform from a polyp to medusa. Carybdea have a box-shaped bell with four tentacles and eye-like sensory structures. There are distinct physical markings that differentiate many species within the genus. While Carybdea use their venom to act as predators, they are also preyed on by turtles and various fish. They feed on plankton, invertebrates, fish, and some crustaceans.
Turritopsis dohrnii, also known as the immortal jellyfish, is a species of small, biologically immortal jellyfish found worldwide in temperate to tropic waters. It is one of the few known cases of animals capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary individual. Others include the jellyfish Laodicea undulata and species of the genus Aurelia.
Aiptasia is a genus of a symbiotic cnidarian belonging to the class Anthozoa. Aiptasia is a widely distributed genus of temperate and tropical sea anemones of benthic lifestyle typically found living on mangrove roots and hard substrates. These anemones, as well as many other cnidarian species, often contain symbiotic dinoflagellate unicellular algae of the genus Symbiodinium living inside nutritive cells. The symbionts provide food mainly in the form of lipids and sugars produced from photosynthesis to the host while the hosts provides inorganic nutrients and a constant and protective environment to the algae. Species of Aiptasia are relatively weedy anemones able to withstand a relatively wide range of salinities and other water quality conditions. In the case of A. pallida and A. pulchella, their hardiness coupled with their ability to reproduce very quickly and out-compete other species in culture gives these anemones the status of pest from the perspective of coral reef aquarium hobbyists. These very characteristics make them easy to grow in the laboratory and thus they are extensively used as model organisms for scientific study. In this respect, Aiptasia have contributed a significant amount of knowledge regarding cnidarian biology, especially human understanding of cnidarian-algal symbioses, a biological phenomenon crucial to the survival of corals and coral reef ecosystems. The dependence of coral reefs on the health of the symbiosis is dramatically illustrated by the devastating effects experienced by corals due to the loss of algal symbionts in response to environmental stress, a phenomenon known as coral bleaching.
Chrysaora hysoscella, the compass jellyfish, is a common species of jellyfish that inhabits coastal waters in temperate regions of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, including the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea. In the past it was also recorded in the southeastern Atlantic, including South Africa, but this was caused by confusion with close relatives; C. africana, C. fulgida and an undescribed species tentatively referred to as "C. agulhensis".
Carukia barnesi is an extremely venomous jellyfish found near Australia. Stings can result in Irukandji syndrome, and this species is commonly known as Irukandji jellyfish, although this name does not distinguish it from other Irukandji jellyfish such as Malo kingi.
Sea anemones are the marine, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria. They are named after the anemone, a terrestrial flowering plant, because of the colourful appearance of many. Sea anemones are classified in the phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa, subclass Hexacorallia. As cnidarians, sea anemones are related to corals, jellyfish, tube-dwelling anemones, and Hydra. Unlike jellyfish, sea anemones do not have a medusa stage in their life cycle.
Condylactis gigantea is a tropical species of ball anemone that is found in shallow reefs and other shallow inshore areas in the Caribbean Sea – more specifically the West Indies – and the western Atlantic Ocean including southern Florida through the Florida Keys. It is also commonly known as: giant Caribbean sea anemone, giant golden anemone, condylactis anemone, Haitian anemone, pink-tipped anemone, purple-tipped anemone, and Florida condy. This species can easily be seen growing in lagoons or in inner reefs as either individuals or loose groups, but never as colonies. They are often used as a model organism along with others in their genus for facultative symbiosis with monocellular algae.
Eusmilia is a genus of stony coral in the family Meandrinidae. It is a monotypic genus represented by the species Eusmilia fastigiata, commonly known as the smooth flower coral. It is found on reefs in the Caribbean Sea.
In zoology, a mesentery is a membrane inside the body cavity of an animal. The term identifies different structures in different phyla: in vertebrates it is a double fold of the peritoneum enclosing the intestines; in other organisms it forms complete or incomplete partitions of the body cavity, whether that is the coelom or, as in the Anthozoa, the gastrovascular cavity.
Cycloseris curvata is a species of disc coral in the family Fungiidae. Cyclosteris curvata is a mostly solitary free living scleractinian disc coral found in the indo-pacific region. They grow on soft substrates and are known to tolerate turbid waters. Like other anthozoan corals they lack a medusa stage characteristic of other cnidarians. They have been observed as both green and brown in color in the field.
Clytia hemisphaerica is a small hydrozoan-group cnidarian, about 1 cm in diameter, that is found in the Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic Ocean. Clytia has the free-swimming jellyfish form typical of the Hydrozoa, as well as vegetatively propagating polyps.
Clava is a monotypic genus of hydrozoans in the family Hydractiniidae. It contains only one accepted species, Clava multicornis. Other names synonymous with Clava multicornis include Clava cornea, Clava diffusa, Clava leptostyla, Clava nodosa, Clava parasitica, Clava squamata, Coryne squamata, Hydra multicornis, and Hydra squamata. The larvae form of the species has a well developed nervous system compared to its small size. The adult form is also advanced due to its ability to stay dormant during unfavorable periods.