, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 69–79 | Cite as

Observations on the specific associations found between scyphomedusae and commensal fish and invertebrates in the Philippines

  • Sheldon Rey Boco
  • Ephrime B. Metillo
Short communication


Our observations on scyphomedusae from selected Philippine embayments identified specific animals commensal with five species of rhizostome scyphomedusae, Acromitoides purpurus, Mastigias sp., Phyllorhiza punctata, Rhopilema hispidum and Versuriga anadyomene. Acromitoides purpurus medusae harbor the crab Charybdis feriata, the carangid fish Alepes djedaba and the poecilostomatoid copepod Paramacrochiron sp. The carangid A. djedaba was an associate of the blue morph of A. purpurus and Rhopilema hispidum in Panguil Bay. A black-pigmented Alepes sp. was found associated with burgundy A. purpurus medusae in Carigara Bay. Charybdis feriata juveniles are common commensals of all morphs of A. purpurus, R. hispidum and P. punctata medusae. Only the zooxanthelate Mastigias sp. lacked animal symbionts. We invoke the “meeting-point hypothesis” and the general theory of fish aggregation to floating structures to explain fish symbiosis with their medusan hosts. The invertebrate-medusa associations are attributed to feeding behaviors and predator avoidance by resident commensals. This study provides record of the poorly studied scyphozoan species and their association with animals in Philippine waters. Finally, we discuss the potential reasons why the golden spotted jellyfish, Mastigias sp., appears to lack animal commensals.


Color morph Gelatinous zooplankton Jellyfish Scyphozoa Symbiosis 



This work is supported by a MSc. Scholarship grant (NSC-ASTHRDP) of SRB provided by the Philippine Department of Science and Technology. We thank M.E. Malugao, S.A.U. Balt, J.B. Villaroya, B. Sebial, and Z.M. Agir for assistance in the field. We are very grateful for the help of the residents of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte with Mayor Eyoy Maniegos during our Panguil Bay surveys. Agir Family is greatly acknowledged for logistical support during Zamboanga del Sur surveys. We thank Prof. F.R.M. Ladiao of Leyte Normal University, Tacloban City, P.J. Mayo of Visayas State University, Baybay City and K. Salamida with the Salamida family of Guiuan, Eastern Samar for logistical support during Eastern Visayas surveys. Dr. T. Heeger is acknowledged for relevant discussions about Philippine jellyfishes.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesMindanao State University-Iligan Institute of TechnologyIligan CityPhilippines
  2. 2.Australian Rivers Institute – Coasts and Estuaries, Griffith School of Environment, Gold Cost CampusGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

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