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Here are the polyps: in situ observations of jellyfish polyps and podocysts on bivalve shells
van Walraven, L.; van Bleijswijk, J.; van der Veer, H.W. (2020). Here are the polyps: in situ observations of jellyfish polyps and podocysts on bivalve shells. PeerJ 8: e9260. https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9260
In: PeerJ. PeerJ: Corte Madera & London. ISSN 2167-8359, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Jellyfish; Polyps; Podocysts; Life cycle closure; North Sea; Chrysaora hysoscella; Cyanea lamarckii

Authors  Top 
  • van Walraven, L., more
  • van Bleijswijk, J., more
  • van der Veer, H.W., more

Abstract
    Most Scyphozoan jellyfish species have a metagenic life cycle involving a benthic, asexually reproducing polyp stage and a sexually reproducing medusa stage. Medusae can be large and conspicuous and most can be identified using morphological characteristics. Polyps on the other hand are small, live a cryptic life attached to hard substrates and often are difficult or impossible to distinguish based on morphology alone. Consequently, for many species the polyp stage has not been identified in the natural environment. We inspected hard substrates in various habitats for the presence of Scyphozoan polyps. Three polyps were found on Dogger Bank, Central North Sea, attached to the inside of the umbo of empty valves of the bivalves Mactra stultorum and Spisula subtruncata. One polyp was accompanied by four podocysts. With this knowledge, the inside of bivalve shells washed ashore in Oostende (Belgium) was inspected and supposed podocysts on the inside of empty valves of Cerastoderma edule and Spisula elliptica were found. Polyps and podocysts were identified to species level by 18S rDNA and mitochondrial COI sequencing. The three polyps found on Dogger Bank all belonged to the compass jellyfish Chrysaora hysoscella. One podocyst from the Oostende beach also belonged to this species but another podocyst belonged to Cyanea lamarkii. These are the first in situ observations of C. hysoscella and C. lamarckii polyps and podocysts in the natural environment. Mactra, Cerastoderma and Spisula species are abundant in many North Sea regions and empty bivalve shells could provide an abundant settling substrate for jellyfish polyps in the North Sea and other areas. Several new strategies to increase the detection of polyps on bivalve shells are presented.

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