Jellyfish

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  • Topic: Jellyfish, Cnidaria, Ctenophora
  • Pages : 2 (454 words )
  • Download(s) : 60
  • Published : November 5, 2012
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Medusa Jellyfish are the major non-polyp form of individuals of the phylum Cnidaria. They are typified as free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. The bell can pulsate for locomotion, while stinging tentacles can be used to capture prey. Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. A few jellyfish inhabit freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are common in coastal zones worldwide. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.

The term medusa was coined by Linnaeus in 1752, alluding to the tentacled head of Medusa in Greek mythology. This term refers exclusively to the non-polyp life-stage which occurs in many cnidarians, which is typified by a large pulsating gelatinous bell with long trailing tentacles. All medusa-producing species belong to the sub-phylum medusozoa. The English popular name jellyfish has been in use since 1796. It has traditionally also been applied to other animals sharing a superficial resemblance, for example ctenophores (members from another phylum of common, gelatinous and generally transparent or translucent, free-swimming planktonic carnivores now known as comb jellies) were included as "jellyfishes". Even some scientists include the phylum ctenophora when they are referring to jellyfish. Other scientists prefer to use the more all-encompassing term gelatinous zooplankton, when referring to these, together with other soft-bodied animals in the water column. As jellyfish are not even vertebrates, let alone true fish, the usual word jellyfish is considered by some to be a misnomer, and American public aquariums have popularized use of the terms jellies or sea jellies instead. Many textbooks and websites refer to only scyphozoans as "true jellyfish". A group of jellyfish is sometimes called a bloom or a swarm. "Bloom" is usually used for a large...
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