Nilsson, Dan-E. Department of Cell and Organism Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Uchida, Tohru Department of Zoology, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
Last reviewed:May 2020
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A class of the phylum Cnidaria, comprising the box jellyfish. Members of the Cubozoa are commonly known as box jellyfish or cubozoans. These cnidarian invertebrates are good swimmers, and their distribution is mostly tropical and subtropical. There are at least 50 described species. The umbrella-shaped body (termed an umbrella or bell) is cubic and boxlike (Fig. 1), and pedalia (gelatinous, leaf-shaped, muscular pads) are present at the base of each ridge of the exumbrella (the outer convex surface of the umbrella) [Fig. 2]. A well-developed tentacle, or cluster of tentacles, arises from each pedalium. These tentacles contain nematocysts, which are stinging capsules. As such, some species of box jellyfish are among the most venomous animals known. The sensory organs are located on the perradii and are the most highly developed in the Cnidaria, with each one having six ocelli (simple invertebrate eyes composed of photoreceptor and pigment cells) and a statocyst (a balance sensory receptor). The manubrium (a peduncle connecting the mouth with the stomach) has four lips. The cubic stomach connects with four radial pockets, and interradial septa are found between these pockets. The leaf-shaped gonads develop from the septa and extend into the pockets. No connecting stage between polyp and medusa is known. See also: Cnidaria; Nervous system (invertebrate)
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