Bugula flabellata   (Thompson,  1847) (Bryozoan)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Gymnolaemata

Image copyrights: Keith Hiscock

Size (Zooecium): Length 950 µ (Marginal zooecium); breadth 250 µ (Marginal zooecium)

Tufted zoarium, height of the colonies 2 cm, grayish white. Zooecia arranged in rows of three to eight. Zooecia oblong, its width remaining more or less the same throughout the length. Front occupied by an opesia of the same expanse. Outer and inner distal angles with two spines each. Usually spines of moderate length, but inner spine of outer set may become long and may even branch. Moderately sized avicularia with abruptly hooked rostrum present both in inner and marginal zooecia of branches, placed at the proximal region of the upper half of zooecia. Ovicells sub-globular with wide apertures.

Zooids of Bugula flabellata possess both male and female reproductive organs. Egg maturation, ovulation and transfer to the ovicell takes place about halfway through the life of the zooid. Sperm is released just before the zooid dies. Within the ovicell, the fertilized egg develops into an embryo which in turn develops into a larva. Nutrition is provided to the embryo via the ovicell. Larval release commonly occurs at dawn, with a ciliated, free-swimming larva being released to the water. The larva swims for about 4-6 hours before settling, metamorphosing and developing into a new colony.

It is a major fouling bryozoan in ports and harbors, particularly on vessel hulls, pilings and pontoons. It has also been reported from off shore oil platforms.

Synonym (s)
Avicularia flabellata Thompson, 1847
Bugula flabellata Hincks, 1880
Bugula flabellata Menon & Nair, 1967
Bugula flabellata Ryland, 1958a
Bugula flabellata Ryland, 1958b
Bugula flabellata Ryland, 1960
Bugula flabellata Menon and Nair, 1974

Common Name (s)
Economic Importance and Threats

Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Small plankton and non-living organic particles that it filters from the surrounding water column
Predator:  Species of nudibranch


• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Harbour INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Nagabhushanam, AK and Krishnan, S (1993) Observations on the distribution of some of the marine organism inhabiting the inter-tidal zone along the western continental shelf of the Bay of Bengal, with particular reference to the Tamil Nadu coastal strip Records of the Zoological Survey of India 93(3-4) 449-490 Available at - ZSI, Pune
  • Menon, NR and Memon, NN (2006) Taxonomy of Bryozoa from the Indian EEZ, A Monograph Ocean Science and Technology Cell, CUSAT, Kochi 1-263 Available at - Library, CAS MB, Parangipettai
  • Menon, NR and Menon, NN (2006) Taxonomy of Bryozoa from the Indian EEZ. A monograph Ocean Science and Technology Cell on Marine Benthos, Kochi and Centre for Marine Living resources and Ecology, Kochi 263 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Hewitt, CL; Martin, RB; Sliwa, C; McEnnulty, FR; Murphy, NE; Jones, T and Cooper, S (Eds.) (2002) National Introduced Marine Pest Information System Available at - http://crimp.marine.csiro.au/nimpis
  • MarLIN: Marine life information network Biology and sensitivity key information sub-programme [on-line] Available at - http://www.marlin.ac.uk/
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Menon, NR and Nair, NB (1967) The ectoproctous bryozoans of the Indian waters Journal of the marine biological association of India The marine biological association of India 9(2) 430-432 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2011-06-01

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