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Any of 20–30 species of freshwater cnidarians (genus Hydra). The polyp-type body is a thin, usually translucent tube that measures up to slightly more than 1 in. (25 mm) long. Food is ingested and wastes are ejected from the open, tentacled end. Individuals are usually hermaphroditic (seehermaphroditism). Reproduction by budding is also common. Species differ in colour, tentacle length and number, and gonad position and size. All hydras feed on other small invertebrates (e.g., crustaceans).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hydra, visit Britannica.com.