Evolution and development of scyphozoan jellyfish
Helm, Rebecca R.
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KeywordScyphozoa; Cnidaria; Life cycle; Metamorphosis; Development; Strobilation; Complex life cycles; Life cycle evolution; Medusozoa; Jellyfish
Scyphozoan jellyfish, or scyphomedusae, are conspicuous members of many ocean ecosystems, and have large impacts on human health and industry. Most scyphomedusae are the final stage in a complex life cycle that also includes two intermediate stages: the larval planula and benthic polyp. In species with all three life‐cycle stages, the metamorphosis of a polyp into a juvenile scyphomedusa (ephyra) is termed strobilation, and polyps can produce one ephyra (termed monodisc strobilation) or many ephyrae (termed polydisc strobilation). In contrast to species with planula, polyp and medusa stages, a handful of scyphozoan species possess modified life cycles with reduced or absent stages. The evolutionary patterns associated with strobilation and life‐cycle type have not been thoroughly investigated, and many studies of ephyra development and strobilation induction are not yet synthesized. Herein, I place the development of scyphomedusae in an evolutionary context. I first review the current evolutionary hypotheses for Scyphozoa. Next, I review what is known about scyphomedusa development across a broad diversity of species, including the first signs of strobilation, the formation of strobila segments, and the morphogenesis of ephyrae. I then review cases where the canonical scyphozoan life cycle has been modified, and take advantage of phylogenetic hypotheses to place these observations in an evolutionary context. I show that the evolution of monodisc strobilation occurred at least twice, and that the loss of intermediate life‐cycle stages occurred several times independently; by contrast, the reduction of the medusa stage appears to have occurred within a single clade. I then briefly review the major natural cues of strobilation induction. Finally, I summarize what is currently known about the molecular mechanisms of strobilation induction and ephyra development. I conclude with suggestions for future directions in the field.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Biological Reviews 93 (2018): 1228-1250, doi:10.1111/brv.12393.
Suggested CitationBiological Reviews 93 (2018): 1228-1250
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