|Researched by||Dr Harvey Tyler-Walters & Saskiya Richards||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis (Corbin, 1978)|
This stalked jellyfish is the smallest member of its family. Calvadosia cruxmelitensis has a translucent, maroon, broad funnel-shaped bell that can reach 1.2 cm in diameter and 0.8 cm in height. The bell is divided by hollow septa. The reproductive gonads are thick and linear, and arranged inside the bell in halves which join at the base and extend in a linear fashion to the arms. The 8 arms are arranged in a circle and well-developed with up to 35 tentacles each. Each of the tentacles has a rounded head. Unique to the Calvadosia cruxmelitensis is the arrangement of the nematocyst organs, which appear as white spots in the shape of a 'maltese cross', from which the species name 'cruxmelitensis' is derived. A distinguishing feature of Calvadosia cruxmelitensis is its stalkless appearance due to the base of the bell involuting around the stalk that is 0.8 cm in height and attached to the substratum by a broad basal disc. Tentacle anchors are absent in Calvadosia cruxmelitensis compared to Haliclystus salpinx.
Calvadosia cruxmelitensis is recorded from the south-west of England, from Swanage to north Devon, and the Isles of Scilly and the Atlantic coasts of Ireland, with occassional records from Pembrokeshire and the Llyn Pennisula in Wales, the Firth of Lorn in Scotland.
Calvadosia cruxmelitensis is only recorded from the British Isles.
The nematocyst capsules are large, vivid white against the maroon of the body, and arranged in the pattern of 'maltese cross' (Corbin, 1978). The species name 'cruxmelitensis' refers to this 'maltese cross' pattern (Corbin, 1978).
Information on the ecology of Calvadosia cruxmelitensis is limited. Information from similar species or other members of the group (Stauromedusae) was used to complete this review. Information relevant to sensitivity assessment was particularly lacking. Sensitivity assessments are based on proxies (e.g. the sensitivity of its preferred substratum) and expert judgement where possible. Miranda et al. (2010, 2016a&b) provide detailed studies of the morphology, histology and taxonomy of the Stauormedusae.
|Phylum||Cnidaria||Sea anemones, corals, sea firs & jellyfish|
|Recent Synonyms||Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis (Corbin, 1978)|
|Typical abundance||High density|
|Male size range||up to 0.8 cm|
|Male size at maturity||up to 0.8 cm|
|Female size range||up to 0.8 cm|
|Female size at maturity||up to 0.8 cm|
|Growth rate||No information|
|Body flexibility||High (greater than 45 degrees)|
|Characteristic feeding method||Predator|
|Typically feeds on||Copepods, amphipods, ostracods, small juvenile decapods, polychaetes and gastropods|
|Is the species harmful?||No|
Stauromedusae are annuals that develop seasonally, reproduce, and die back until the following year, although they have a complex life cycle that may include resting or overwintering stages (see ‘life history’ below) (Berrill, 1962; Corbin, 1978,1979, Zagal, 2004a; Miranda et al., 2012). Although the number of studies is limited, Stauromedusae exhibit seasonal periods of high abundance in both the northern and southern hemispheres (Miranda et al., 2012, Table 2). In Wembury, the UK, Corbin (1978, 1979) noted that Haliclystus auricula exhibited its highest abundance in mid-summer, Calvadosia (as Lucernariopsis) campanulata in autumn and Calvadosia (as Lucernariopsis) cruxmelitensis in winter, based on 23 years of observations. Between 1953 and 1974, Corbin (1979) also observed years with exceptionally high counts of Calvadosia campanulata in 1962 and 1974, of Calvadosia cruxmelitensis in 1968 (when ca 2000 individuals were found) and of Haliclystus auricula in 1972 and 1973. The annual mean numbers of indivudals was 37 in Haliclystus auricula, 39 in Calvadosia cruxmelitensis but 5 in Calvadosia campanulata (Corbin, 1979). In southern Chile, Zagal (2004a) noted a summer peak in abundance in Haliclytus auricula, with a maximum density of 1,405 individuals/m2, after which it disappeared in winter. The stauromedusae adult phase is the only conspicuous phase of the life cycle. Although it is small and often camouflaged on its algal substratum, the other life stages (planulae and stauropolyps) are small and hard to observe (Corbin, 1979; Miranda et al., 2012). The environmental cues for the seasonal growth and exceptional years are unknown but their abundance coincides with the greatest algal cover and is probably correlated with optimal conditions for feeding and hence growth (Zagal, 2004a; Miranda et al., 2012).
Stauromedusae are passive predators that catch food using stinging nematocysts. In southern Chile, Zagal (2004b) reported that the prey of Haliclystus auricula consisted mainly of gammarid amphipods, chironomid fly larvae, ostracods (seed shrimp), juvenile decapods crustaceans and gastropods, and that the smaller medusae took the smallest prey. These prey are typical mobile grazers and scavengers in seaweed canopies. In South Georgia (subantarctic) Haliclystus antarcticus preyed mainly on calanoid copepods, amphipods and, in one case, an errant polychaete (Davenport, 1998). Davenport (1998) concluded that they took both benthic and planktonic prey. It is probable that Calvadosia spp. take similar prey, depending on size.
Davenport (1998) also noted that Haliclystus antarcticus in South Georgia (subantarctic) was preyed on by aeolid nudibranchs and the fish Notothenia rossii (the marbled rockcod).
|Physiographic preferences||Enclosed coast / Embayment, Strait / sound|
|Biological zone preferences||Lower eulittoral, Sublittoral fringe, Upper infralittoral|
|Substratum / habitat preferences||Macroalgae|
|Tidal strength preferences||Weak < 1 knot (<0.5 m/sec.)|
|Wave exposure preferences||Moderately exposed, Sheltered|
|Salinity preferences||Full (30-40 psu)|
|Depth range||Lower eulittoral to shallow sublittoral|
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Haliclystus auricula, Calvadosia (as Lucernariopsis) cruxmelitensis and Calvadosia (as Lucernariopsis) campanulata grow on a variety of macroalgae on the lower half of the shore, in pools or 'moving with the waves' 'at the tides edge' (Corbin, 1979). Corbin (1979) noted that Calvadosia cruxmelitensis rarely settled on Zostera and that no specimen was seen attached to a solid substratum. It occurred most frequently on Chondrus and Gigartina, frequently on Ulva, Gracilaria, Furcellaria, Polyides, Corallina, Ceramium and other feathery macroalgae, infrequently on Codium, Cystoseira and Calliblepharis, but also on a wider range of other macroalgae. In 25 years of observation, only one specimen was noted on Zostera or Fucus and none on Halidrys, Laminaria, Chorda, or Himanthalia. He also noted that Calvadosia cruxmelitensis is perfectly camouflaged on Corallina, as the white tips of the pink branches match the stauromedusan's colouration; a camouflage enhanced by the presence of encrusting Lithothamnium (Corbin, 1978).
|Reproductive type||Asexual, Gonochoristic (dioecious), Sexual|
|Reproductive frequency||Annual episodic|
|Fecundity (number of eggs)||No information|
|Generation time||<1 year|
|Age at maturity||<1 year|
|Life span||<1 year|
|Duration of larval stage||2-10 days|
|Larval dispersal potential||Very limited (<1 m)|
|Larval settlement period||Winter|
Stauromedusae have a potentially complex life cycle with sexual and asexual stages, although the larval and early stages have been observed in few genera (Haliclystus and Stylocoronella) (Miranda et al., 2010, 2012). In addition, Miranda et al. (2010) concluded that the hydrozoan Microhydrula limopsicola was a life-stage of Haliclystus antarcticus (based on morphology and molecular markers) and, therefore, suggested that the ‘microhydrula’ was part of the Stauromedusan life cycle.
Asexual reproduction can occur at several stages. The adult stauromedusa can bud ‘frustules’ from the upper part of the animal, while frustules can also bud from special tentacles on the stauropolyp and from the ‘microhydula’ stage (Kikinger & von Salvini-Plawen, 1995; Miranda et al., 2010, 2012). Kikinger & von Salvini-Plawen (1995) noted that ‘frustules’ divided and then encysted, and suggested that they were ‘resting stages’. Otto (1979) also noted that the lack of further development within her cultures suggested that the larvae had entered an overwintering stage, especially as larvae did not develop immediately after settlement in the field. Miranda et al. (2012) suggested that the ‘microhydrula’ stage might represent the ‘resistant’ stage of Otto (1978).
Miranda et al. (2012) noted that stauromedusae appear in specific seasons and then disappear. Adults are small (1-4 cm) and often camouflaged against the background of macroalgae and their abundance may be underestimated (Corbin, 1979; Miranda et al., 2012). However, the tiny planulae (ca 100 µm in length) and stauropolyps (0.3-0.8 mm in height) are more difficult to find and have only been documented for nine of the 51 known species of Stauromedusae (Miranda et al., 2010). It was also suggested that there might be a subtidal 'reservoir' population (Gwilliam, 1956, cited in Miranda et al., 2012). The ‘microhydrula’ stage of Haliclystus anatarcticus was collected at a depth of 31 m, and the stauropolyp of Haliclystus octoradiatus can detach itself from the substratum, even in calm water. However, no other evidence was found for seasonal migration of planulae, stauropolyps and stauromedusae to or from deeper water (Miranda et al., 2012). Field observations suggest that Stauromedusae disappear for several months before the young stages appear, which suggests that encystment occurs in the field (Otto, 1979; Miranda et al., 2012). Also, Wietrzykowski (1912, cited in Miranda et al., 2012) noted young polyps in April and mature stauromedusae in July. Miranda et al. (2012) concluded that three months from December to March would be adequate for planulae to become mature stauromedusae.
In addition, although a single stauropolyp only develops into a single adult (sexual) stauromedusae, the ‘microhydula’ and ‘stauropolyp’ stages can create numerous asexual ‘frustules’. Frustules and planulae provide the potential to create a 'resevoir' of resistant or overwintering stages (Otto, 1978, 1979; Kikinger & von Salvini-Plawen, 1995; Miranda et al., 2010) towards the end of the season, which may then develop when favourable conditions return the following year resulting in the seasonal peak in abundance. But frustules 'from asexual reproduction' may also rapidly develop many new polyps, contributing to the seasonal peaks in abundance, and in particular, exceptional ‘blooms’ in some years (Miranda et al., 2012). Miranda et al. (2010) also noted that intense asexual reproduction was consistent with the low genetic diversity of the Haliclystus antarcticus populations they studied and, provide Stauromedusae with the potential to develop large populations in isolated areas.
This MarLIN sensitivity assessment has been superseded by the MarESA approach to sensitivity assessment. MarLIN assessments used an approach that has now been modified to reflect the most recent conservation imperatives and terminology and are due to be updated by 2016/17.
|UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority|
|Species of principal importance (England)|
|Features of Conservation Importance (England & Wales)|
|National (GB) importance||Nationally rare||Global red list (IUCN) category||-|
This species was found in often high numbers (ca 2000 individuals in one shore search in 1968; Corbin, 1979) on shores in south-west England but is now rarely seen (Hiscock et al., 2011). Hiscock et al. (2011) suggested that the population had declined by 90% from the 1970s to 2005, although the reason for the decline was unknown.
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This review can be cited as:
Last Updated: 22/02/2017