Feb 10, 2009

Is the remodeling of the polyp prepattern in a hydrozoan planula a function of larval age or size and is it of "adaptive" significance?

Zoology : Analysis of Complex Systems, ZACS
Gary Freeman


Eggs of medusae develop into lecithotrophic planulae that undergo metamorphosis at different ages to form polyps. As planulae age they decrease in size as their yolk stores are utilized. The planulae of most Phialidium medusae develop into polyps where there is a decrease in the size of the holdfast region and a relative increase in the size of the hydranth region as they age. These changes occur independently of the decrease in planula size. In planulae with a decrease in the size of the holdfast region and an increase in the size of the hydranth-forming region there was a 50% decline in polyps that successfully stayed attached to the substrate after metamorphosis. These aged planulae produced an initial hydranth with the same number of tentacles as polyps from full-sized young planulae while young half-sized planulae produced hydranths where the tentacle number was smaller. The first phase of polyp colony growth with a small initial hydranth was slower than growth of a colony with a larger initial hydranth. Predation during this period led to more death in colonies with a small initial hydranth. The decline in successful attachment in aged planulae was not offset by the higher rate of growth and a smaller window of time where...Continue Reading

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