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 Cunina parasitica, however, the ovum develops into an actinula, which buds actinulae as before, but only the daughter-actinulae develop into medusae, while the original, parent-actinula dies off; here, therefore, larval budding has led to a true alternation of generations.