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 This stalked jellyfish is the smallest member of its family. Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis has a translucent, maroon, broad funnel-shaped bell that can reach 1.2 cm in diameter and 0.8 cm in height. The bell is divided by hollow septa. The reproductive gonads are thick and linear, and arranged inside the bell in halves which join at the base and extend in a linear fashion to the arms. The 8 arms are arranged in a circle and well-developed with up to 35 tentacles each. Each of the tentacles has a rounded head. Unique to the Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis is the arrangement of the nematocyst organs, which appear as white spots in the shape of a maltese cross. A distinguishing feature of Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis is its stalkless appearance due to the base of the bell involuting around the stalk that is 0.8cm in height and attached to the substratum by a broad basal disc. Tentacle anchors are absent in Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis compared to Haliclystus salpinx.Individuals of Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis are gonochoristic and reproduce through external fertilization whereby gametes are shed into the water from the gonads situated on the sepal walls. Once fertilized, the zygotes develop into vermiform planula larvae. The planula larvae attach to the substratum and undergo a period of encystment followed by development into the adult form via a small larval polyp.


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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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