|Researched by||Catherine MacDougall||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||Snail fur, Hermit crab hydroid||Synonyms||-|
Forms a horny mat, the hydrorhiza, about 3 mm thick on gastropod shells occupied by hermit crabs. The mat consists of thick jagged spines that reach 3 mm in height. Amongst the hydrorhiza mat there are three types of polyps: 1) a club like feeding polyp that grows up to 13 mm in length, with upper and lower circles of eight tentacles, the lower set being shorter than the upper; 2) male and female reproductive polyps (gonozoids) that have a few short terminal tentacles, and 3) specialized defensive stinging polyps (dactylozooids) that are long coils and look thread-like. The gonozoids liberate crawling planula larvae that can sense moving gastropod shells.
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Last Updated: 28/01/2003