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Species Name:    Schizoporella cornuta
Common Name:                         (None)

 

I.  TAXONOMY

Kingdom Phylum/Division: Class: Order: Family: Genus:
Animalia Ectoprocta Gymnolaemata Cheilostomata Schizoporellidae Schizoporella


SEM of Schizoporella cornuta, an encrusting bryozoan.    Photo by J. Winston, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History.  Used with permission.  
Species Name:
Schizoporella cornuta (Gabb and Horn), 1862

Common Name:
None

 

 

 


Species Description:
S. cornuta forms encrusting colonies that are pink to salmon in color. Zooids are oval to hexagonal and measure approximately 0.35 X 0.25 mm in size. Heavy calcification between zooids obscures distinct boundaries between individuals. The frontal surface is perforated by many tiny pores that become more irregular in shape as the colony ages due to secondary calcification. The orifice is semicircular with 2 cardelles and a proximal V-shaped sinus. Avicularia are elliptical and may be single or paired. They are raised on processes inferior and lateral to the orifice, and generally have their mandibles pointed upward at a 45-degree angle.

Synonymy:
None

Other Taxonomic Groupings:
Suborder: Ascophora

Potentially Misidentified Species:
S. cornuta is easily confused with S. biaperta, and several other species.


II.  HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION 
Regional Occurrence:
The range of S. cornuta is somewhat incompletely known due to the confusion of this species with other species. However, it is likely to occur from Woods Hole, Massachusetts south to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In the Pacific, S. cornuta has been reported along the North American coast. It is also known in the eastern Atlantic along the West African coast.

IRL Distribution:
S. cornuta is distributed within the Indian River Lagoon, but is more common at coastal locations.


III.  LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY
Age, Size, Lifespan:
Zooids measure approximately 0.35 X 0.25 mm in size.

Abundance:
Though not among the most abundant of the bryozoans, S. cornuta is encountered from April through December, and may occur year-round. It is most abundant on beach rock and dead shells along the coastlines near Walton Rocks and Seminole Shores from October through December.

Locomotion:
Sessile

Reproduction:
Reproduces along the Florida coast from October through December. Colonies collected by Winston (1982) had the greatest number of zooid ovicells filled with embryos.

Embryology:
Prominent ovicells are hyperstomial and globular. Unlike other species of Schizoporella, they do not have pores over the entire surface of the ovicell. Rather, there is a heavy outer rim of heavy calcification, and a radially grooved central area. These grooves end in a row of pores.

Embryos are brightly colored from orange-red to cherry-red.


IV.  PHYSICAL TOLERANCES
Temperature:
S. cornuta may be present year-round at both coastal and IRL locations, and is thus considered to be eurythermal.  

Salinity:
In the IRL, S. cornuta is typically collected from areas where salinity remains above 30. It is also collected coastally.


V.  COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
Trophic Mode:
S. cornuta, like all bryozoans, is a suspension feeder. Each individual zooid in a colony has ciliated tentacles that are extended to filter phytoplankton less than 0.045 mm in size (about 1/1800 of an inch) from the water column. Bullivant (1967; 1968) showed that the average individual zooid in a colony can clear 8.8 ml of water per day.

Habitats:
Typical habitat for ectoprocts in the Indian River Lagoon include seagrasses, drift algae, oyster reef, dock, pilings, breakwaters, and man-made debris (Winston 1995). S. cornuta was most commonly found along the coastline on beach rocks and dead shells.

Associated Species:
Seagrasses as well as floating macroalgae, provide support for bryozoan colonies. In turn, bryozoans provide habitat for many species of juvenile fishes and their invertebrate prey such as polychaete worms, amphipods and copepods. (Winston 1995).

Bryozoans are also found in association with other species that act as support structures: mangrove roots, oyster beds, mussels, etc.


VI.  SPECIAL STATUS
Special Status:
None.

Benefit in IRL:
Bryozoans are ecologically important in the Indian River Lagoon due to their feeding method. As suspension feeders, they act as living filters in the marine environment. For example, Winston (1995) reported that bryozoan colonies located in 1 square meter of seagrass bed could potentially filter and recirculate an average of 48,000 gallons of seawater per day.

Economic Importance:
None

 

Report by:  K. Hill, Smithsonian Marine Station
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Page last updated: July 25,  2001