Author: Cristina Lopez de las Heras (Volunteer)
Date: July 13, 2012
It’s summer time, which means that jellyfish are back in the news – recent reports describe thousands clogging beaches in Spain. We thought it might be interesting to look into their reproductive ways and it turns out jellyfish have a rather interesting lifecycle. Interested in learning more?
When jellyfish mate, the male's sperm fertilizes the female egg and the zygote is formed, which grows into a planula larva.
The planula begins its life free floating, until it adheres to the sea floor where it grows into a polyp, which is really only a digestive track. Polyps can also actually multiply to form colonies. Eventually, the division process for the formation of individual jellyfish begins.
Take a close look at the picture above – see the difference between the circled polyp and those around it? We actually got a picture of a polyp right as the division process starts. Those little discs that are forming eventually separate off and become jellyfish!
Pretty interesting huh?