Oesophagus, stomach, radial canals, ring-canal and tentacle-canals, constitute together the gastrovascular system and are lined throughout by endoderm, which forms also a flat sheet of cells connecting the radial canals and ring canal together like a web; this is the so-called endoderm-lamella (e.l.), a most important feature of medusan morphology, the nature of which will be apparent when the development is described.
It resembles in general appearance a polyp, lacking even the characteristic medusan sense-organs, which are present, however, in the allied genus Haliclystus (fig.
Amphinema is a medusan genus of unknown hydroid.
As in the Gymnoblastea, the difficulty of uniting the hydroid and medusan systems into one scheme of classification is very great in the present state of our knowledge.
I), proving its medusan nature beyond all doubt.
The evidence against this view may be classed under two heads: first, comparative evidence; hydroids very different in their structural characters and widely separate in the systematic classification of these organisms may produce medusae very similar, at least so far as the essential features of medusan organization are concerned; on the other hydroids closely allied, perhaps almost indistinguishable, may produce gonophores in the one case, medusae in the other; for example, Hydractinia (gonophores) and Podocoryne (medusae), Tubularia (gonophores) and Ectopleura (medusae), Coryne (gonophores) and Syncoryne (medusae),-and so on.
Another medusan genus is Proboscidactyla.
Secondly, there is the evidence from the development, namely, the presence of the entocodon in the medusa-bud, a structure which, as explained above, can only be accounted for satisfactorily by derivation from a medusan type of organization.
Thus a bract may be regarded, with Haeckel, as a modified umbrella of a medusa, a siphon as its manubrium, and a tentacle as representing a medusan tentacle shifted in attachment from the margin to the sub-umbrella; or a siphon may be compared with a polyp, of which the single tentacle has become shifted so as to be attached to the coenosarc and so on.
Cladonema still has the typical medusan structure, and is able to swim about, but in Clavatella the umbrella is so much reduced that swimming is no longer possible.