Today we added a new pond creature to our list of animals observed through the webcams. Attached to the housing of our pond cam Paul spotted a beautiful green and rather amazing Hydra. On the screen it looks huge but it’s only about a cm in length. Paul has changed the focus of the camera so we can get a great view of this fascinating animal.
The Hydra is related to jellyfish and sea anemones. They have a simple hollow body consisting of two layers – the inner layer digests the hydras food. Like sea anemones, the hydra catches its food using stinging cells in its tentacles. When feeding the hydra stretches its body allows the tentacles to drift in the water. When they touch a small pond creature – such as daphnia and cyclops, they sting and grab it with the tentacles.
The hydra attaches to plants (or camera windows) using its basal disc. The hydra can move my holding on with its tentacles, letting go with its basal disc and then attaching to another surface.
Buds develop on the side of the hydra and these will eventually drop off and become new hydra. There are two buds developing on this hydra.
Hydra can also produce tiny lava and we thing the very tiny green moving blobs may be hydra larva but they are too small to be sure.