One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In some hydrozoans: a mobile tentaculate larva, which develops from a planula and transforms into an adult polyp or medusa after dispersal.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in George Allman (1812–1898), naturalist. From ancient Greek ἀκτῖν-, ἀκτίς ray + -ula, after planula.
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