Visual ecology and functional morphology of Cubozoa (Cnidaria)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Jellyfish belong to one of the oldest extant animal phyla, the Cnidaria. The first Cnidaria appear in the fossil record 600 million years ago, preceeding the Cambrian explosion. They are an extremely successful group present in all marine environments and some freshwater environments. In contrast to many animal phyla in which vision is a primary sense Cnidarians do not, generally, employ image forming eyes. One small class stands alone: the Cubozoa. Cubomedusae are commonly known as box jellyfish. They possess image forming eyes (Coates et al., 2001) which certainly evolved independently from other metazoans. Cubomedusae therefore offer a unique perspective on the evolution of image forming eyes. This literature review collects, into one place, what is known about: the multiple eye types of box jellyfish, cubomedusan life history and ecology, and the sensory and neural systems of box jellyfish. Here I discuss how these features set cubomedusae apart from scyphomedusae and hydromedusae. Knowledge in these areas is sparse; the work done to date inspires increased efforts.


  • Melissa Coates
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-548
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Zoology (Closed 2011) (011012000)