Any of numerous, usually colonial marine cnidarians, having a polyp rather than a medusoid form as the dominant stage of the life cycle. Hydroids have a simple cylindrical body with a mouthlike opening surrounded by tentacles. Most species form colonies with individual hydroids branching off from a common hollow tube that is probably used to share ingested food. The young develop from eggs or from buds. The most well-known hydroids are the hydras (genus Hydra ), which are atypical in being both freshwater and solitary.