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Related Articles: Water Flow, How Much is Enough

/The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

Moss Animals & Lace Corals, the Bryozoans (or Ectoprocts if you will)

Bob Fenner

Reteporellina graeffei, Fiji

Most aquarists will never see this group (Phylum) of advanced invertebrates. Not only are they small and cryptic by nature, as a consequence of these qualities and the vagaries of wild collection and shipping, bryozoans just "don't make it" from reefs to homes. Just the same, because there are folks who endeavor to keep and culture most everything, and there are cases where these "moss animals" have survived the rigors of the trade, we will discuss them.

    Often looking more like algae than animals the Bryozoa are small, encrusting or branching colonial animals. Colonies are made up of individual zooids of about 1/16-1/25 of an inch in length. This basic building block (the zooid) builds a chitinous or calcareous house around itself and between its kin. The resultant structures look bushy, like webs, fans, branches... and are flexible to rigid.

    Like some closely related groups/phyla the zooids filter feed by way of a tentacular crown called a lophophore. The bryozoans other scientific name refers to the placement of their anus (unlike Sponges and Cnidarians, Bryozoans have a complete digestive tract). Food is directed by cilia on the tentacles into a mouth, through a simple digestive tract (one-way), and exits outside the ring of tentacles. Notable for the group are specialized defensive zooids termed avicularia (like aves, bird for their beak-like heads).

    Along with groups like sponges, sea squirts, barnacles and many hydroids and worms, the Bryozoa are important components of "fouling communities"... living in silty harbors, boat bottoms... Due to such tolerance and beauty, there should be a future in advanced marine aquarist's tanks for this group.

Range:

    Worldwide in tropical to temperate seas, some freshwater. About 5,000 described species.

Species on Parade!

Alcyonidium sp. Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia., another possibility... from N. Sulawesi.


Bracebridgia subsulcata White Tangled Bryozoan. Looks like a bleached out brown algae, summat like Dictyota, but looking closely you can see zooid characteristics. Made up of thin white tubular branches... that being calcareous are rigid, easily broken. Found out of the light in deeper water. Here in Cozumel 08.


Genus Bugula:
Bugula dentata (Lamoroux 1816). Delicately branching... minute spines along the colony branches... Indo-West Pacific; South Africa to Australia, Japan and Atlantic; Cape Verde Isl.s. In S. Sulawesi.

Bugula minima.  Purple Reef Fan Bryozoan. Spaced stalks with red tips and only occasional cross barring. .To 2 in. Tropical West Atlantic. Here in Roatan, 2016

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Genus Canda:

Canda simplex.  Brown Fan Bryozoan. Flexible with red tips and occasional cross barring. .75-1.25 in. Tropical West Atlantic. Here in Cozumel.

Canda sp.  Single plane colonies with many small interconnections between adjacent branches. Raja Ampat.



Celleporaria sibogae Winston & Heimberg 1986. Easily missed or misidentified as something other than a Bryozoan. Crustose, flat colonies, comprised of elongated polyps of zancleid hydroids growing commensally. Calcified, hard to the touch. Western Pacific; N. Australia to Malaysia. N. Sulawesi pic.

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Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available


Cheilostome sp. Variously colored zooecia, found mainly encrusted on dead coral skeletons and rocks in the shallows.  In S. Sulawesi.
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Crisina radians (Lamarck 1816), the Tuning Fork Bryozoan. A calcareous species found on hard surfaces and seaweed blades. Ends of colonies look like tuning forks. To about a half inch across. Kona, Hawai'i. images.


Membranipora sp. Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia. 


Genus Reteporellina:

Reteporellina evelinae, White Fan Bryozoan. Fan shaped, 2 inch colonies. Uniplanar. Roatan 2016

Reteporellina graeffei (Kirchenpauer 1869). Tentative ID. N. Sulawesi.

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Genus Scrupocellaria:

Scrupocellaria sp. 1.25 inches max. Highly branched and cross-linked branches. Nuka Hiva, Marquesas, Polynesia. 

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Genus Trematooecia:

Trematooecia aviculifera, Bleeding Teeth Bryozoan. Encrusting laminar to massive zooids. Reddish w/ pale margins. To 8 inch colonies. Roatan 2016, TiffB pic. 

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Triphyllozoon sp. perhaps T. inornatum Harmer 1934. Found on walls in areas of high current. Hydroid polyps with capitate tentacles. Western Pacific; New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines. N. Sulawesi and Hawai'i images.

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Unidentified Bryozoans
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Raja Ampat

Bibliography/Further Reference:

Gosliner, Terrence M, Behrens, David W. & Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific. Sea Challengers, Monterey, California. 314pp.


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