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Nematocysts of Polyps of Aurelia, Chrysaora, and Cyanea, and Their Utility in Identification

Dale R. Calder
Transactions of the American Microscopical Society
Vol. 90, No. 3 (Jul., 1971), pp. 269-274
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3225186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3225186
Page Count: 6
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Nematocysts of Polyps of Aurelia, Chrysaora, and Cyanea, and Their Utility in Identification
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Abstract

Nematocysts in known scyphistomae of Aurelia aurita, Chrysaora quinquecirrha, and Cyanea capillata were examined to determine possible specific differences in cnidome or in morphology of a given nematocyst type. Two categories of nematocysts were common to the three species, atrichous isorhizas and microbasic heterotrichous euryteles. The isorhizas were of one type in Chrysaora ("a" atrichs), two types in both Aurelia ("a" atrichs and polyspiras) and Cyanea ("a" atrichs and "α" atrichs). The newly designated "α" atrichs, varying from ellipsoidal to pyriform to reniform in outline, were smaller (5.3-8.8 x 2.0-3.0 μ) than the oviform polyspiras of Aurelia (8.8-12.9 x 4.45.9 μ). The "a" atrichs and microbasic euryteles of the three species were similar in shape. Both tended to be largest in Cyanea and smallest in Aurelia, but an overlap in size was observed. A third nematocyst category, holotrichous haplonemes, were found in occasional specimens of Chrysaora, evidently appearing in advance of strobilation. The utility and limitations of the nematocysts in distinguishing scyphistomae of the three species are discussed.

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