Int. J. Dev. Biol. 44: 485 - 490 (2000)
© UPV/EHU Press

Induction of segmentation in polyps of Aurelia aurita (Scyphozoa, Cnidaria) into medusae and formation of mirror-image medusa anlagen.

M Kroiher, B Siefker and S Berking

Zoological Institute, University of Köln, Germany. m.kroiher@uni-koeln.de

ABSTRACT Polyps of Aurelia aurita can transform into several medusae (jellyfish) in a process of sequential subdivision. During this transformation, two processes take place which are well known to play a key role in the formation of various higher metazoa: segmentation and metamorphosis. In order to compare these processes in bilaterians and cnidarians we studied the control and the kinetics of these processes in Aurelia aurita. Segmentation and metamorphosis visibly start at the polyp's head and proceed down the body column but do not reach the basal disc. The small piece of polyp which remains will develop into a new polyp. The commitment to the medusa stage moves down the body column and precedes the visible onset of segmentation by about one day. Segmentation and metamorphosis can start at the cut surface of transversely cut body columns, leading to a mirror-image pattern of sequentially developing medusae.