|Cnidarian or Coelenterate||
also called coelenterate any member of the phylum Cnidaria (Coelenterata). Mostly marine animals, the cnidarians include the corals, hydras, jellyfish, Portuguese men-of-war, sea anemones, sea pens, sea whips, and sea fans. The phylum Cnidaria is made up of four classes: Hydrozoa (hydrozoans); Scyphozoa (scyphozoans); Anthozoa (anthozoans); and Cubozoa (cubozoans). The nearly 9,000 species share several attributes, supporting the theory that they had a single origin. Only cnidarians manufacture microscopic intracellular stinging capsules, known as nematocysts or cnidae, which give the phylum its name. The alternative name, coelenterate, refers to their simple organization around a central body cavity (the coelenteron). As first defined, coelenterates included not only the animals now designated cnidarians but also sponges (phylum Porifera) and comb jellies (phylum Ctenophora). In contemporary usage, “coelenterate” generally refers only to cnidarians, but the latter term is used in order to avoid ambiguity.
Source: Taken from Encyclopaedia Britannica 2002