Scyphozoans have a life cycle that can be broadly divided into two parts: a free-living medusa (the "jellyfish stage") and an attached, sessile polyp stage. Sexes are separate in the medusae and these produce haploid gametes that combine through external fertilization to form free-swimming planula larvae. Planulae search out suitable settlement sites and leave the water column to assume a sessile benthic existence. Thse scyphistomae then give rise to new offspring in the form of free-swimming medusae. Immature medusae, called ephyrae, detach from the ends of the sessile scyphistomae in a process termed strobilation. Ephyrae develop into mature medusae over a period of usually several weeks (Rupert et al. 2004).
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