Aquatic and Land Animal Diversity

Aquatic Animals

What animals are members of the phylum Cnidaria?

Cnidarians include the corals, jellyfish, sea anemones, and hydras. The name Cnidaria refers to the stinging structures that are characteristic of some of these animals. These organisms have a vase-shaped body plan and a digestive cavity with only one opening to the outside; this opening is surrounded by a ring of tentacles used to capture food and defend against predators. The tentacles—and sometimes the outer body surface—contain longer, harpoonlike structures called stingers or nematocysts; the stinging cells are called cnidocytes.


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