Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 12, pp 2707–2722 | Cite as

Morphology and development of benthic and pelagic life stages of North Sea jellyfish (Scyphozoa, Cnidaria) with special emphasis on the identification of ephyra stages

  • Sabine Holst
Original Paper


Jellyfish blooms or invasions could be detected in an early phase of development if the youngest medusa stages (ephyrae) and their early growth stages (post-ephyrae) were identifiable in plankton samples but a useful identification key for ephyrae in early growth stages is lacking for most species. In the present study, the identification characteristics of adult North Sea scyphomedusae (Aurelia aurita, Cyanea capillata, Cyanea lamarckii, Chrysaora hysoscella, Rhizostoma octopus) collected around the island of Helgoland (German Bight) in July–August 2003 and 2004 are described. Planula larvae were measured and reared to polyps in the laboratory. The process of ephyrae development asexually produced by the polyps (strobilation) was photo-documented. Photographs of the ephyrae growth stages were combined with drawings of features useful for the species identification. The provided identification key allows discrimination among post-ephyrae from plankton samples, probably leading to conclusions on the development of jellyfish blooms and their causes.


Gastric Pouch German Bight Gastric Canal Ring Canal Jellyfish Bloom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank PD Dr. Gerhard Jarms (University of Hamburg) and the Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (Alfred Wegener Institute) for providing the research facilities and the technicians of the Biocenter Grindel (University of Hamburg) and the DZMB Hamburg (Senckenberg am Meer) for their assistance. I am grateful to A. Wiebring, J. E. Purcell and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Senckenberg am Meer, German Center for Marine Biodiversity ResearchHamburgGermany

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