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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 374:127-134 (2009)  -  DOI:

Changing form and function during development in rowing hydromedusae

Jacqueline Weston1, Sean P. Colin1,*, John H. Costello2, Emily Abbott2

1Environmental Science/Marine Biology, Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island 02908, USA
2Biology Department, Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island 02918, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Bell morphology, propulsion and foraging appear to be interdependent traits among medusan lineages. In general, taxa that possess large oblate bells swim via rowing propulsion and forage as cruising predators, and taxa with small prolate bells swim via jet propulsion and forage as ambush predators. However, hydromedusae from the taxa Leptothecata (referred to here as leptomedusae) experience large changes in bell size and shape during their development. We used video analysis to evaluate changes in bell morphology and kinematics, fluid interactions and behavior of 2 leptomedusan species, Aequorea victoria and Eutonina indicans, during these developmental transitions. Both species begin as small, prolate, jetting juveniles (<1 mm diameter) and develop into large, oblate, rowing adults (>0.5 cm diameter). In addition to morphological and propulsive alterations, we observed changes in behavior, whereby as jetters they rarely swam and as rowers they swam nearly continuously. These findings demonstrate that bell fineness, velar aperture ratio and bell kinematics interact to determine fluid interactions and thus determine propulsive mode.

KEY WORDS: Functional morphology · Foraging behavior · Propulsion mode · Swimming behavior · Hydromedusae

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Cite this article as: Weston J, Colin SP, Costello JH, Abbott E (2009) Changing form and function during development in rowing hydromedusae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 374:127-134.

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