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Turritopsis nutricula

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Turritopsis nutricula
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Hydrozoa
Order: Anthoathecata
Family: Oceaniidae
Genus: Turritopsis
T. nutricula
Binomial name
Turritopsis nutricula
McCrady, 1857[1]

Turritopsis nutricula is a small hydrozoan that once reaching adulthood, can transfer its cells back to childhood. This adaptive trait likely evolved in order to extend the life of the individual. Several different species of the genus Turritopsis were formerly classified as T. nutricula, including the "immortal jellyfish" which is now classified as T. dohrnii.[2]

Life cycle[edit]

Hydrozoans have two distinct stages in their life, a polyp stage and a medusa stage. The polyp stage is benthic, with the cells forming colonies, while the medusa stage is a singular, planktonic organism. Generally in hydrozoa the medusa develops from the asexual budding of the polyp and the polyp results from sexual reproduction of medusae.[3] In T. nutricula, planktonic medusa have the capability to bud polyps or medusae which also have the ability to spawn new medusae.[4] Several nominal species have been described for this genus, but most of them had been synonymized and attributed to one cosmopolitan species, Turritopsis nutricula.[5]

Reversing the life cycle[edit]

Turritopsis nutricula in any point of the medusa stage has the ability to transform back into its polyp stage. T. nutricula is the first known metazoan that has been observed to sexually mature and return to its juvenile colonial stage. This regression from medusa to polyp has only been observed with the presence of differentiated cells from the outer umbrella and part of the animals digestion system.[6] The ability of transdifferentiation, a non-stem cell which can morph into a different type of cell, in these cells is pivotal for this species' changing life cycle. It is unknown whether or not stem cells play a role in this process.[7] Due to this regular transformation by T. nutricula, it is thought to have an indefinite lifespan.[6]

There are four stages that were found to describe the inverted life cycle of the Turritopsis nutricula: healthy medusa (where the T.nutricula would swim actively), unhealthy medusa (the T. nutricula was not able to swim), four-leaf clover, and cyst (would produce the polyp morphologically).[8]


  1. ^ Turritopsis nutricula McCrady 1857 Archived 2010-04-03 at the Wayback Machine - Encyclopedia of Life
  2. ^ M. P. Miglietta; S. Piraino; S. Kubota; P. Schuchert (2007). "Species in the genus Turritopsis (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa): a molecular evaluation". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 45 (1): 11–19. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2006.00379.x.
  3. ^ Schmid, Volker (1974-05-01). "Regeneration in Medusa buds and Medusae of Hydrozoa". Integrative and Comparative Biology. 14 (2): 773–781. doi:10.1093/icb/14.2.773. ISSN 1540-7063.
  4. ^ Bavestrello, G., Sommer, C., & Michele, S. (1992). Bi-directional conversion in Turritopsis nutricula (Hydrozoa). Sci Mar, 56(2-3), 137-40.
  5. ^ Miglietta, M. P., et al. “Species in the Genus Turritopsis (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa): a Molecular Evaluation.” Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, Accepted on 9 April 2006, vol. 45, no. 1, 2007, pp. 11–19, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0469.2006.00379.x
  6. ^ a b Piraino, Stefano; Boero, Ferdinando (June 1996). "Reversing the life cycle: Medusae transforming into polyps and cell transdifferentiation in Turritopsis nutricula (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa)". The Biological Bulletin; Woods Hole. 190 (3): 302–312. doi:10.2307/1543022. JSTOR 1543022. PMID 29227703.
  7. ^ Ma, Hongbao; Yang, Yan (2018). "Turritopsis nutricula". Nature and Science. 8 (2): 15–20.
  8. ^ Carla’, E. C., Pagliara, P., Piraino, S., Boero, F., & Dini, L. (2003). Morphological and ultrastructural analysis of turritopsis nutricula during life cycle reversal. Tissue and Cell, 35(3), 213–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0040-8166(03)00028-4

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