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Nematocyst
A cnidocyte (also known as a cnidoblast or nematocyte) is an explosive cell containing one large secretory organelle called a cnidocyst (also known as a cnida () or nematocyst) that can deliver a sting to other organisms. The presence of this cell defines the phylum Cnidaria ( corals, sea anemones, hydrae, jellyfish, etc.). Cnidae are used to capture prey and as a defense against predators. A cnidocyte fires a structure that contains a toxin within the cnidocyst; this is responsible for the stings delivered by a cnidarian. Structure and function Each cnidocyte contains an organelle called a cnida, cnidocyst, nematocyst, ptychocyst or spirocyst. This organelle consists of a bulb-shaped capsule containing a coiled hollow tubule structure attached to it. An immature cnidocyte is referred to as a cnidoblast or nematoblast. The externally oriented side of the cell has a hair-like trigger called a cnidocil, which is a mechano- and chemo-receptor. When the trigger is activated, the ...
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Jellyfish
Jellyfish and sea jellies are the informal common names given to the medusa-phase of certain gelatinous members of the subphylum Medusozoa, a major part of the phylum Cnidaria. Jellyfish are mainly free-swimming marine animals with umbrella-shaped bells and trailing tentacles, although a few are anchored to the seabed by stalks rather than being mobile. The bell can pulsate to provide propulsion for highly efficient locomotion. The tentacles are armed with stinging cells and may be used to capture prey and defend against predators. Jellyfish have a complex life cycle; the medusa is normally the sexual phase, which produces planula larvae that disperse widely and enter a sedentary polyp phase before reaching sexual maturity. Jellyfish are found all over the world, from surface waters to the deep sea. Scyphozoans (the "true jellyfish") are exclusively marine, but some hydrozoans with a similar appearance live in freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are comm ...
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Cnidaria
Cnidaria () is a phylum under kingdom Animalia containing over 11,000 species of aquatic animals found both in freshwater and marine environments, predominantly the latter. Their distinguishing feature is cnidocytes, specialized cells that they use mainly for capturing prey. Their bodies consist of mesoglea, a non-living jelly-like substance, sandwiched between two layers of epithelium that are mostly one cell thick. Cnidarians mostly have two basic body forms: swimming medusae and sessile polyps, both of which are radially symmetrical with mouths surrounded by tentacles that bear cnidocytes. Both forms have a single orifice and body cavity that are used for digestion and respiration. Many cnidarian species produce colonies that are single organisms composed of medusa-like or polyp-like zooids, or both (hence they are trimorphic). Cnidarians' activities are coordinated by a decentralized nerve net and simple receptors. Several free-swimming species of Cubozo ...
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Anthozoan
Anthozoa is a subphylum of marine invertebrates which includes the sea anemones, stony corals and soft corals. Adult anthozoans are almost all attached to the seabed, while their larvae can disperse as part of the plankton. The basic unit of the adult is the polyp; this consists of a cylindrical column topped by a disc with a central mouth surrounded by tentacles. Sea anemones are mostly solitary, but the majority of corals are colonial, being formed by the budding of new polyps from an original, founding individual. Colonies are strengthened by calcium carbonate and other materials and take various massive, plate-like, bushy or leafy forms. Anthozoa is included within the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes the jellyfish, box jellies and parasitic Myxozoa and Polypodiozoa. The two main subclasses of Anthozoa are the Hexacorallia, members of which have six-fold symmetry and includes the stony corals, sea anemones, tube anemones and zoanthids; and the Octocorallia, which hav ...
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Hydra (genus)
''Hydra'' ( ) is a genus of small, freshwater organisms of the phylum Cnidaria and class Hydrozoa. They are native to the temperate and tropical regions. The genus was named by Linnaeus in 1758 after the Hydra, which was the many-headed beast defeated by Hercules as when the animal had a part severed, it would regenerate much like the hydra’s heads. Biologists are especially interested in ''Hydra'' because of their regenerative ability; they do not appear to die of old age, or to age at all. Morphology ''Hydra'' has a tubular, radially symmetric body up to long when extended, secured by a simple adhesive foot known as the basal disc. Gland cells in the basal disc secrete a sticky fluid that accounts for its adhesive properties. At the free end of the body is a mouth opening surrounded by one to twelve thin, mobile tentacles. Each tentacle, or cnida (plural: cnidae), is clothed with highly specialised stinging cells called cnidocytes. Cnidocytes contain speci ...
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Sea Anemone
Sea anemones are a group of predatory marine invertebrates of the order Actiniaria. Because of their colourful appearance, they are named after the '' Anemone'', a terrestrial flowering plant. Sea anemones are classified in the phylum Cnidaria, class Anthozoa, subclass Hexacorallia. As cnidarians, sea anemones are related to corals, jellyfish, tube-dwelling anemones, and '' Hydra''. Unlike jellyfish, sea anemones do not have a medusa stage in their life cycle. A typical sea anemone is a single polyp attached to a hard surface by its base, but some species live in soft sediment, and a few float near the surface of the water. The polyp has a columnar trunk topped by an oral disc with a ring of tentacles and a central mouth. The tentacles can be retracted inside the body cavity or expanded to catch passing prey. They are armed with cnidocytes (stinging cells). In many species, additional nourishment comes from a symbiotic relationship with single-celled dinoflagellates, with ...
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Coral
Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Coral species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton. A coral "group" is a colony of very many genetically identical polyps. Each polyp is a sac-like animal typically only a few millimeters in diameter and a few centimeters in height. A set of tentacles surround a central mouth opening. Each polyp excretes an exoskeleton near the base. Over many generations, the colony thus creates a skeleton characteristic of the species which can measure up to several meters in size. Individual colonies grow by asexual reproduction of polyps. Corals also breed sexually by spawning: polyps of the same species release gametes simultaneously overnight, often around a full moon. Fertilized eggs form planulae, a mobile early form of the coral polyp which, whe ...
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Hydrozoa
Hydrozoa (hydrozoans; ) are a taxonomic class of individually very small, predatory animals, some solitary and some colonial, most of which inhabit saline water. The colonies of the colonial species can be large, and in some cases the specialized individual animals cannot survive outside the colony. A few genera within this class live in freshwater habitats. Hydrozoans are related to jellyfish and corals and belong to the phylum Cnidaria. Some examples of hydrozoans are the freshwater jelly ('' Craspedacusta sowerbyi''), freshwater polyps ('' Hydra''), '' Obelia'', Portuguese man o' war (''Physalia physalis''), chondrophores (Porpitidae), " air fern" (''Sertularia argentea''), and pink-hearted hydroids ('' Tubularia''). Anatomy Most hydrozoan species include both a polypoid and a medusoid stage in their lifecycles, although a number of them have only one or the other. For example, ''Hydra'' has no medusoid stage, while '' Liriope'' lacks the polypoid stage. Polyps The hydro ...
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Mechanoreceptor
A mechanoreceptor, also called mechanoceptor, is a sensory receptor that responds to mechanical pressure or distortion. Mechanoreceptors are innervated by sensory neurons that convert mechanical pressure into electrical signals that, in animals, are sent to the central nervous system. Vertebrate mechanoreceptors Cutaneous mechanoreceptors Cutaneous mechanoreceptors respond to mechanical stimuli that result from physical interaction, including pressure and vibration. They are located in the skin, like other cutaneous receptors. They are all innervated by Aβ fibers, except the mechanorecepting free nerve endings, which are innervated by Aδ fibers. Cutaneous mechanoreceptors can be categorized by what kind of sensation they perceive, by the rate of adaptation, and by morphology. Furthermore, each has a different receptive field. By sensation *The Slowly Adapting type 1 (SA1) mechanoreceptor, with the Merkel corpuscle end-organ (also known as Merkel discs) detect sustained p ...
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Cuticle
A cuticle (), or cuticula, is any of a variety of tough but flexible, non-mineral outer coverings of an organism, or parts of an organism, that provide protection. Various types of "cuticle" are non- homologous, differing in their origin, structure, function, and chemical composition. Human anatomy In human anatomy, "cuticle" can refer to several structures, but it is used in general parlance, and even by medical professionals, to refer to the thickened layer of skin surrounding fingernails and toenails (the eponychium), and to refer to the superficial layer of overlapping cells covering the hair shaft ( cuticula pili), consisting of dead cells, that locks the hair into its follicle. It can also be used as a synonym for the epidermis, the outer layer of skin. Cuticle of invertebrates In zoology, the invertebrate cuticle or cuticula is a multi-layered structure outside the epidermis of many invertebrates, notably roundworms and arthropods, in which it forms an exoskeleto ...
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Chitin
Chitin ( C8 H13 O5 N)n ( ) is a long-chain polymer of ''N''-acetylglucosamine, an amide derivative of glucose. Chitin is probably the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature (behind only cellulose); an estimated 1 billion tons of chitin are produced each year in the biosphere. It is a primary component of cell walls in fungi (especially basidiomycetes and filamentous fungi), the exoskeletons of arthropods such as crustaceans and insects, the radulae, cephalopod beaks and gladii of molluscs and in some nematodes and diatoms. It is also synthesised by at least some fish and lissamphibians. Commercially, chitin is extracted from the shells of crabs, shrimps, shellfishes and lobsters, which are major by-products of the seafood industry. The structure of chitin is comparable to cellulose, forming crystalline nanofibrils or whiskers. It is functionally comparable to the protein keratin. Chitin has proved useful for several medicinal, industrial and biotechnological purpose ...
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Mesenteries
In zoology, a mesentery is a membrane inside the body cavity of an animal. The term identifies different structures in different phyla: in vertebrates it is a double fold of the peritoneum enclosing the intestines; in other organisms it forms complete or incomplete partitions of the body cavity, whether that is the coelom or, as in the Anthozoa, the gastrovascular cavity. The word "mesentery" is derived from the Greek ''mesos'', "in the middle" and ''enteron'', an "intestine". Vertebrates In vertebrates, a mesentery is a membrane consisting of a double fold of peritoneum that encloses the intestines and their associated organs and connect them with the dorsal wall of the abdominal cavity. In invertebrates, a mesentery is a support or partition in a body cavity serving a similar function to the mesenteries of vertebrates. Bilateria In bilaterally symmetrical organisms there is often a major mesentery separating the two halves of the coelom. In segmented organisms such as eart ...
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