, Volume 216-217, Issue 1, pp 181-188

Distributional ecology and behaviour of the early life stages of the box-jellyfish Chironex fleckeri

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Abstract

Laboratory observations on reared life stages of Chironex fleckeri (Cubozoa: Chirodropidae) have been combined with field sampling and observations to outline the life cycle of the species and the spatial and temporal distribution of populations in Queensland, Australia. A seasonal alternation of polypoid and medusoid generations from winter to summer respectively is accompanied by a shift in preferred habitat from tidal estuaries to the open eulittoral zone. The system appears to be constrained by predictable fluctuations in the suitability of the alternate habitats to their resident generations. Observations on behaviour, feeding, physiological tolerances, and sexual and asexual reproduction provide insights into the adaptiveness of this pattern.