According to Wulfert  the primitive germ-cells of Gonothyraea can be distinguished soon after the fixation of the planula, appearing amongst the interstitial cells of the ectoderm.
If the embryo is set free as a free-swimming, so-called planula-larva, in the blastula, parenchymula, or gastrula stage, then a free actinula stage is not found; if, on the other hand, a free actinula occurs, then there is no free planula stage.
In Ieptolinae the embryonic development culminates in a polyp, which is usually formed by fixation of a planula (parenchymula), rarely by fixation of an actinula.
The planula may fix itself (I) by one end, and then becomes the hydrocaulus and hydranth, while the hydrorhiza grows out from the base; or (2) partly by one side and then gives rise to Modified from a plate by L.
In some hydroids the founder-polyp, developed from a planula after fixation, throws out numerous outgrowths from the base to form the hydrorhiza; these outgrowths may be radially arranged so as to form by contact or coalescence a flat plate.
In Aeginopsis a planula is formed by multipolar immigration.
The two ends of the planula become greatly lengthened and give rise to the two primary tentacles of the actinula, of which the mouth arises from one side of the planula.
Hence the principal axis of the future medusa corresponds, not to the longitudinal axis of the planula, but to a transverse axis.
This is in some degree parallel to the cases described above, in which a planula gives rise to the hydrorhiza, and buds a polyp laterally.
The parasite effects a lodgment in the host either by invading it as a free-swimming planula, or, apparently, in other cases, as a spore-embryo which is captured and swallowed as food by the host.
The planula has its two extremities dissimilar (Bipolaria-larva).
The planula becomes elongated and broader towards one pole, at which a pit or invagination of the ectoderm arises.
From the broader portion of the planula an outgrowth arises which becomes the first tentacle of the cormus.
The endoderm of the planula now acquires a cavity, and at the narrower pole a mouth is formed, giving rise to the primary siphon.
Thus from the original planula three appendages are, as it were, budded off, while the planula itself mostly gives rise to coenosarc, just as in some hydroids the planula is converted chiefly into hydrorhiza.
The planula develops, on the whole, in a similar manner, but the ectodermal invagination arises, not at the pole of the planula, but on the side of its broader portion, and gives rise, not to a pneumatophore, but to a nectocalyx, the primary swimming bell or protocodon (" Fallschirm ") which is later thrown off and replaced by secondary swimming bells, metacodons, budded from the coenosarc.
This very characteristic larva is termed a planula, but though very uniform externally, the planulae of different species, or of the same species at different periods, do not always represent the same stage of embryonic development internally.
Thus a planula larva may be a blastula, or but slightly advanced beyond this stage, or it may be (and most usually is) a parenchymula; or in some cases (Scyphomedusae) it may be a gastrula.
The ectoderm loses entirely the ciliation which it had in the planula and actinula stages and commonly secretes on its external surface a protective or supporting investment, the perisarc. Contrasting with this, the anthopolyp is generally of s q uat form, the diameter often exceeding the height; the peristome is wide, a hypostome is lacking, and the ectoderm, or so much of it as is exposed, i.e.
Thus the development of the two types of individual seen in the Hydrozoa may be summarized as follows: - Egg Free Blastula "Planula" Parenchymula Stage I Gastrula Actinula 1 Polyp Medusa This development, though probably representing the primitive sequence of events, is never actually found in its full extent, but is always abbreviated by omission or elimination of one or more of the stages.
Great apparent differences may also be brought about by variations in the period at which the embryo is set free as a larva, and since two free-swimming stages, planula and actinula, are unnecessary, one or other of them is always suppressed.
In Cordylophora the embryo is set free at the parenchymula stage as a planula which fixes itself and develops into a polyp, both gastrula and actinula stages being suppressed.
In Tubularia, on the other hand, the parenchymula develops into an actinula within the maternal tissues, and is then set free, creeps about for a time, and after fixing itself, changes into a polyp; hence in this case the planula-stage, as a free larva, is entirely suppressed.
As regards the other three groups, however, it is easy to conceive of them as derived from an ancestor, represented to-day to some extent by the planula-larva, which was Coelenterate in so far as it was composed of an ectoderm and endoderm, and had an internal digestive cavity (I.
After a time the planula fixes itself by the anterior pole, with the blastopore uppermost.