Phylum cnidaria more than just jellyfish
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Phylum Cnidaria : More than Just Jellyfish. Don’t Forget Sponges!. Phylum: Porifera Anatomy & Physiology: Osculum , Spongocoel ( asymetrical ) Archaeocytes , choanocytes , spicules Ecology: Filter feeders. Cnidarians have Cnidocytes.

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Phylum Cnidaria : More than Just Jellyfish

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Phylum cnidaria more than just jellyfish

Phylum Cnidaria: More than Just Jellyfish

Don t forget sponges

Don’t Forget Sponges!

  • Phylum:

    • Porifera

  • Anatomy & Physiology:

    • Osculum, Spongocoel (asymetrical)

    • Archaeocytes, choanocytes, spicules

  • Ecology:

    • Filter feeders

Cnidarians have cnidocytes

Cnidarians have Cnidocytes

  • Cnidocytes are stinging cells that produce toxins and inject it into prey.

  • They are used to stun and capture prey.


Two major groups of cnidarians

Two Major Groups of Cnidarians



Box jellies

Sea anemones

True jellies

Sea Pens



Cnidarian life cycle

Cnidarian Life Cycle

  • Two main phases:

    • Polyp (stationary)

    • Medusa (mobile)

  • Some Cnidarian species have only a single phase. This is a general description.

Cnidarian anatomy

Cnidarian Anatomy

Cnidarian anatomy1

Cnidarian Anatomy

Sea anemones

Sea Anemones

  • Anemones spend most of their time attached to rock or coral, though they can move.

  • They are predators

Clownfish anemone

Clownfish & Anemone

  • One of the best examples of symbiosis in all of biology

  • What does each organism get from the other?



  • Brain coral shown at left

  • Corals are colonies of many tiny polyps.

Phylum cnidaria more than just jellyfish

  • They are carnivores.

  • They have no medusa stage in their life cycle – all polyp



Coral reefs

Coral Reefs

  • Corals CaCO3 holdfasts are what coral reefs are made of.

Sea pens sea fans soft corals no caco 3 bones

Sea Pens & Sea Fans: “Soft” Corals – No CaCO3 “bones”

Box jellyfish deadliest venom

Box Jellyfish: Deadliest Venom?

  • Cnidocytes on the tentacles of box jellies may have killed more people than any other venom!

True jellies scyphozoa

True Jellies: Scyphozoa

Hydrozoa weird misfit cnidarians

Hydrozoa: Weird Misfit Cnidarians

Deadly Portugese-Man-O-War

  • Many sizes and shapes

  • Many variations on life cycle

  • Poorly defined group


In summary

In Summary

  • Cnidarians have stinging cells called cnidocytes.

  • The Cnidarian life cycle includes polyp and medusa stages.

  • Cnidaria includes a wide variety of species, including jellifish, anemones, and hard and soft corals.

  • They are all predators.

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