Jellyfish have a stalked (polyp) phase, when they are attached to coastal reefs, and a jellyfish (medusa) phase, when they float among the plankton. The medusa is the reproductive stage; their eggs are fertilised internally and develop into free-swimming planula larvae. After a brief period floating about in surface waters, the larvae settle to the sea floor, attaching themselves at one end. There they develop into polyps and begin to feed and grow. In spring, some of the polyps start to bud off immature jellyfish known as ephyra larvae. These grow into mature jellyfish.
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Artwork by Bruce Mahalski
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