02. Beast and Beauty

The second chapter of the “Inhabitants of the microworld” series is called “Beast and Beauty”.

The reproductive cycle of the common jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) is surprising. At first, polyps appear, terrible predators that capture their small prey with their long, stinging tentacles. As time passes the polyps begin to grow rings and become what is known as strobila. The development of these strobila is one of the reproductive mechanisms of this species: asexual reproduction by budding.

Each polyp is capable of originate new jellyfish without the need for any genetic exchange, in other words, without the intervention of males and females.
In the strobila, the ephyrae are formed, one on top of the other, piled up like the dishes in the cupboard, which will become what we could call the “larvae” of the jellyfish.

As the ephyras mature, they are released from the strobila and begin a life of freedom and danger. Those that manage to survive will be able, after several months of development and growth, to become the beautiful adult jellyfish capable of restarting the reproductive cycle of the species. This time it will be by means of sexual reproduction, that is, by the union of sperm and eggs from some individuals acting as males and others acting as females.

This is the second chapter of a series that will bring to us a video per day during this confinement forced by COVID-19.

We hope that you enjoy this initiative, which gives access to a documentary series for free to the world, and you share it with everyone you think will possibly be interested.

Science into Images’s team.

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