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Sunday, July 6, 2014


Seemed a closeup of a bryozoan colony would be an appropriate image for the 4th of July weekend the open lophophores, or feeding tentacles, remind me of fireworks.

The lophophores can be completely withdrawn. The next two pictures are the exact same portion of the colony — the first shows the lophophores pulled in, the second shows most of the lophophores extended.  You can compare the positions of the spines to orient yourself within the colony.  

Speaking of spines, here's a little fact for you.  The units that support the lophophores are called autozoids.  But the units that produce the brown, chitinous spines are called kenozoids.  Below is a zoomed out picture showing more of the colony and more of the spines among the lophophores.

Above, you might have noticed that this bryozoan colony is growing on a piece of pink coralline algae.  This bryozoan species is also found growing on kelp.  When the waves are big, large Flustrellida spinifera colonies frequently wash ashore on local beaches and are often mistaken for algae.  You might have seen them before (next image), but perhaps you haven't had a chance to view their beautiful lophophores and intriguing spines under a microscope!

1 comment:

Petalpatch said...

I always wondered about those nubbly-furry bits of tan frill. Now I know what they are, I am going to want to examine them even more closely. Putting a cheap 10x loop in my outing bag! Love your blog… born and raised in Sonoma Co. and the coast is my muse. Thank you, thank you for enriching and educating me. I can never get enough.