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.
Formation of archenteron and blastopore may, however, be deferred till a later stage (actinula or after).
- Free Actinula rhiza from which a polyp appears to be of Tubularia.
In Trachylinae the polyp-stage is passed over, and is represented only by the actinula as a transitory embryonic stage.
In Leptolinae the actinula becomes the sessile polyp which has acquired the power of budding and producing individuals either of its own or of a higher rank; it represents a persistent larval stage and remains in a sexually immature condition as a neutral individual, sex being an attribute only of the final stage in the development, namely the medusa.