Alyconidium verrilli - Rubbery Bryozoan
Habitat Coastal marine waters 300 feet and above
Range North West Atlantic Ocean
Description Yellowish - brown irregular, rubbery, lobes, fleshy, lacking spicules or calcification. Ranges from a few inches up to a food in length. This species is characterized for having irregular placement of zooids with ten tentacles.
Ecological Notes A bryozoan colony is composed of individual (sessile) zooecia. Each zooecium is composed of the animal (zooid) and its exoskeleton. Tentacles are extended to capture plankton and detritus. Some zooids, known as avicularia, are modified to help protect the colonly from other organisms. Larvae are very small an pelagic; once they settle they begin budding to construct a colonly.
Personal Information The specimen was found washed ashore on Oregon Inlet beach; it was tangled among seaweed. The sample was not accurately identified until returned to lab and analyzed in more detail.
Image Courtesy of: http://www.eol.org/pages/36457
Gosner, K. L. (1978). Peterson Field Guide; Atlantic Seashore. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Carter, Michelle C.; Bishop, John D. D.; Evans, Nick J.; Wood, Chris A. “Environmental influences on the formation and germination of hibernacula in the brackish-water bryozoan Victorella pavida Saville Kent, 1870 (Ctenostomata: Victorellidae).” Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, v. 383 issue 2, 2010, p. 89-95.
This paper studied a different species of Bryzoan and the environmental factors which impacted the development of this organism. The authors specifically studied water temperature, salinity, and how these influenced germination.
Carter, Michelle C.; Gordon, Dennis P.; Gardner, Jonathan P. A. “Polymorphism and variation in modular animals: morphometric and density analyses of bryozoan avicularia.” Marine Ecology Progress Series, v. 399, 2010, p. 117-130.
The authors of this paper focused upon the genus cheilostome and the unique characteristics present in this group. The individual avicularia have the unique characteristic of being polymorphic. As a result the authors studied numerous sample to better understand the morphological differences in each specimen.
Contributed by Rachel Day - 2010