A Preliminary Phylogeny Of Pelagiidae (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa), With New Observations Of Chrysaora Colorata Comb. Nov.

The nomenclature of the purple-striped jellyfish from southern California, currently known as Pelagia colorata Russell, 1964, is apparently in error. Our cladistic analysis of 20 characters for 15 pelagiid species indicates that P. colorata shares a common evolutionary history with members of the genus Chrysaora. There appears to be a number of characters shared among species of Chrysaora due to common ancestry, including a distinctive pattern of nematocyst patches in the ephyra, as well as deep rhopaliar pits and star-shaped exumbrellar marks of the medusa. In addition, our data indicate that there is a close phylogenetic relationship between P. colorata and C. achylos Martin et al., 1997. Both species share a previously unidentified and conspicuous internal structure, termed quadralinga. We reassign P. colorata to the Chrysaora clade and provide a redescription of it accordingly. A field key to eight species of Chrysaora from the Americas and Europe is provided.