Hydroid (Oaten Pipe)
The Oaten Pipe Hydroid is a sea creature that looks more like a plant than an animal. It has a long fleshy yellow stem with a pink round body on top. The body is surrounded by lots of fine white tentacles. It almost looks like a flower. This hydroid can be found all around the coasts of England in both shallow and deep waters where it clings onto rocks and shipwrecks.
The Oaten Pipe Hydroid can reach heights between ten to fifteen centimetres and its body and tentacles usually reach a diameter of around one and half centimetres. The body of this hydroid is called a ‘polyp’ and the sensitive tentacles around it have stinging cells called ‘nematocysts’. Nematocysts are used when the Oaten Pipe Hydroid wants to feed.
Oaten Pipe Hydroids are often seen in groups called colonies and some individual polyps in the colony may have different functions such as defending, feeding and reproducing. In order to build their colonies certain Oaten Pipe Hydroids reproduce by ‘budding’ which means they can create cells that promote growth. The cells grow into transparent bell-shaped forms and these cells can produce eggs. Larvae hatch out of the eggs and settle to develop into polyps which become part of a colony.