Stalkedjellyfish

Haliclystus auricula

ORDER

Stauromeduasae

FAMILY Lucernariidae

TAXONOMY

Haliclystus auricula Rathke, 1806, Norway.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

In the Stauromedusae the medusa is stalked and remains attached to the substrate. The "bell" (calyx) is funnel-shaped and grows to 1.25 in (3 cm) in diameter, with the mouth at the bottom of the funnel. The calyx has eight arms, with clusters of 30-80 knobbed tentacles at the tips. Between the arms are eight bean-shaped sticky pads. The stalk is as long as the calyx is wide. The color of this jellyfish often matches the substrate—green, brown, yellow, or reddish-purple.

DISTRIBUTION

This species is found on the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts above 40°N latitude.

HABITAT

These stauromedusae live attached to rock, algae, or eelgrass in shallow intertidal and subtidal areas late spring through autumn.

BEHAVIOR

Stauromedusae can move about by somersaulting. The stalk bends toward the substrate, where the calyx can attach temporarily by a sticky pad between the arms or by the tentacles. The stalk releases its hold, arches over, and reattaches to the substrate in a different location as the calyx releases its attachment.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Stauromedusae feed on epibenthic animals, including am-phipods, copepods, and gastropods, that bump into their stinging tentacles. The arms bend toward the center to bring captured prey to the central mouth.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The stalked jellyfish spawns into the water at first daylight. Fertilized eggs form creeping, nonswimming larvae. When the larvae attach to the substrate, they form a minute polyp, which grows directly into an adult.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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