Obelia is a genus in the class
Class (biology)
In biological classification, class is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, and species, with class fitting between phylum and order...

Hydrozoa are a taxonomic class of very small, predatory animals which can be solitary or colonial and which mostly live in saltwater. A few genera within this class live in freshwater...

, which consists of mainly marine and some freshwater animal species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 and have both the polyp
A polyp in zoology is one of two forms found in the phylum Cnidaria, the other being the medusa. Polyps are approximately cylindrical in shape and elongated at the axis of the body...

 and medusa
Medusa (biology)
In biology, a medusa is a form of cnidarian in which the body is shaped like an umbrella, in contrast with polyps. Medusae vary from bell-shaped to the shape of a thin disk, scarcely convex above and only slightly concave below...

 stages in their life cycle. The genus belongs to the phylum
In biology, a phylum The term was coined by Georges Cuvier from Greek φῦλον phylon, "race, stock," related to φυλή phyle, "tribe, clan." is a taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class. "Phylum" is equivalent to the botanical term division....

Cnidaria is a phylum containing over 9,000 species of animals found exclusively in aquatic and mostly marine environments. Their distinguishing feature is cnidocytes, specialized cells that they use mainly for capturing prey. Their bodies consist of mesoglea, a non-living jelly-like substance,...

, which are all aquatic and mainly marine organisms that are relatively simple in structure.


The Beavis are naturally found in Tepee in the ocean throughout the world. They are marine colonial hydrozoans that are found and hard substrata in the subtidal zones. They are usually found no deeper than 200 metres (656.2 ft) from the water's surface, growing in intertidal rockpools and at the extreme low water of spring tides.

Life cycle

The polyp colony reproduces asexually
Asexual reproduction
Asexual reproduction is a mode of reproduction by which offspring arise from a single parent, and inherit the genes of that parent only, it is reproduction which does not involve meiosis, ploidy reduction, or fertilization. A more stringent definition is agamogenesis which is reproduction without...

. During this stage of life, Obelia are confined to substrate
Substrate (marine biology)
Stream substrate is the material that rests at the bottom of a stream. There are several classification guides. One is:*Mud – silt and clay.*Sand – Particles between 0.06 and 2 mm in diameter.*Granule – Between 2 and 4 mm in diameter....

 surfaces. On this mature colony there are individual hydranths called gastrozooids, which can be found expanded or contracted, to aid in the growth of this organism by feeding; the reproductive polyp gonozooids has medusa buds. Other hydranths are specialized for defense. The main stalky body of the colony is composed of a coenosarc, which is covered by a protective perisarc.

The next generation of the life cycle begins when the medusae are released from these gonozooids, producing free swimming only male medusae velum with gonad
The gonad is the organ that makes gametes. The gonads in males are the testes and the gonads in females are the ovaries. The product, gametes, are haploid germ cells. For example, spermatozoon and egg cells are gametes...

s, a mouth, and tentacle
A tentacle or bothrium is one of usually two or more elongated flexible organs present in animals, especially invertebrates. The term may also refer to the hairs of the leaves of some insectivorous plants. Usually, tentacles are used for feeding, feeling and grasping. Anatomically, they work like...

s. The physical appearance of the male and female medusae velum, including their gonads, are indistinguishable, and the sex
In biology, sex is a process of combining and mixing genetic traits, often resulting in the specialization of organisms into a male or female variety . Sexual reproduction involves combining specialized cells to form offspring that inherit traits from both parents...

 can only be determined by observing the inside of the gonads, which will either contain sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

 or eggs
An ovum is a haploid female reproductive cell or gamete. Both animals and embryophytes have ova. The term ovule is used for the young ovum of an animal, as well as the plant structure that carries the female gametophyte and egg cell and develops into a seed after fertilization...

. The medusae reproduce sexually
Sexual reproduction
Sexual reproduction is the creation of a new organism by combining the genetic material of two organisms. There are two main processes during sexual reproduction; they are: meiosis, involving the halving of the number of chromosomes; and fertilization, involving the fusion of two gametes and the...

, releasing sperm and eggs that fertilize to form a zygote
A zygote , or zygocyte, is the initial cell formed when two gamete cells are joined by means of sexual reproduction. In multicellular organisms, it is the earliest developmental stage of the embryo...

, which later morphs into a blastula
The blastula is a hollow sphere of cells formed during an early stage of embryonic development in animals . The blastula is created when the zygote undergoes the cell division process known as cleavage. The blastula is preceded by the morula and is followed by the gastrula in the developmental...

, then a ciliated swimming larva called a planula
A planula is the free-swimming, flattened, ciliated, bilaterally symmetric larval form of various cnidarian species. The planula forms from the fertilized egg of a medusa, as the case in scyphozoans and some hydrozoans, or from a polyp, as in the case of anthozoans...


The planulae live free-swimming for a while but eventually attach themselves to some solid surface, where they begin their reproductive phase of life. Once attached to a substrate, a planula quickly develops into one feeding polyp. As the polyp grows, it begins developing branches of other feeding individuals, thus forming a new generation of polyps by asexual budding
Budding is a form of asexual reproduction in which a new organism grows on another one. The new organism remains attached as it grows, separating from the parent organism only when it is mature. Since the reproduction is asexual, the newly created organism is a clone and is genetically identical...



Through its life cycle, Obelia takes two forms: polyp
A polyp in zoology is one of two forms found in the phylum Cnidaria, the other being the medusa. Polyps are approximately cylindrical in shape and elongated at the axis of the body...

 and medusa
Medusa (biology)
In biology, a medusa is a form of cnidarian in which the body is shaped like an umbrella, in contrast with polyps. Medusae vary from bell-shaped to the shape of a thin disk, scarcely convex above and only slightly concave below...

. They are diploblastic, with two true tissue layers – an epidermis
Squamous epithelium
In anatomy, squamous epithelium is an epithelium characterised by its most superficial layer consisting of flat, scale-like cells called squamous epithelial cells...

 and a gastrodermis
The gastrodermis is the inner layer of cells that lines a gastrovascular cavity of Cnidarians....

, with a jelly-like mesoglea
Mesoglea is the translucent, inert, jelly-like substance that makes up most of the bodies of jellyfish, comb jellies and certain primitive sea creatures in the phyla Cnidaria and Ctenophora. It acts as the creatures' structural support in water, as they lack bones or cartilage, endo- or...

 filling the area between the two true tissue layers. They carry a nerve
A peripheral nerve, or simply nerve, is an enclosed, cable-like bundle of peripheral axons . A nerve provides a common pathway for the electrochemical nerve impulses that are transmitted along each of the axons. Nerves are found only in the peripheral nervous system...

 net with no brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

 or ganglia. A gastrovascular cavity
Gastrovascular cavity
Gastro vascular cavity, as the name indicates, functions in both digestion and the distribution of nutrients and particles to all parts of the body...

 is present where the digestion
Digestion is the mechanical and chemical breakdown of food into smaller components that are more easily absorbed into a blood stream, for instance. Digestion is a form of catabolism: a breakdown of large food molecules to smaller ones....

 starts and later becomes intracellular. They have incomplete digestive tracts where the food enters, is digested, and expelled through the same opening. During the polyp stage, the mouth is situated at the top of the body, surrounded by tentacles, whereas during the medusa stage, the mouth is situated at the distal end of the main body structure. Four gonads lie in this main body structure, or manubrium. When food is taken in through the mouth, it enters the manubrium. The food is then distributed through a canal system, consisting of four radial canals and an outer ring. Defense and the capture of prey are helped by unique stinging cells called cnidocyte
A cnidocyte, cnidoblast, or nematocyte is a type of venomous cell unique to the phylum Cnidaria . The cnidocyte cell provides a means for them to catch prey and defend themselves from predators. Despite being morphologically simple, lacking a skeleton and usually being sessile, cnidarians prey on...

s that contain nematocysts, which are triggered by the cnidocil.

External links

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