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Species Name:    Scrupocellaria regularis
Common Name:                          (None)

 

I.  TAXONOMY

Kingdom Phylum/Division: Class: Order: Family: Genus:
Animalia Ectoprocta Gymnolaemata Cheilostomata Scrupocellariidae Scrupocellaria


SEM of Scrupocellaria regularis, showing erect branches and ovoid opesia.  Photo by J. Winston, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural history.  Used with permission.  
Species Name:
Scrupocellaria regularis Osburn, 1940

Voucher Specimen
American Museum of Natural History 
# 598

Common Name:
None

 

 


Species Description:
Colonies of S. regularis are erect and branching, forming short pink tufts on various substrataZooids are narrow in the proximal portion, wider distally. The opesia are ovoid in shape, and occupy approximately 2/3 of the frontal area. Individual zooids measure an average of 0.51 X 0.20 mm. There are 2 - 7 distolateral spines, simple or branching, present around the mural rim. The innermost proximal spine in specialized to act as a shield or scutum over the membranous frontal area. This single spine covers most of the opesia, is large and paddle-shaped with pointed edges. Polypides have obliquely truncate lophophores which average 0.464 mm in diameter. Lophophore bears 13 tentacles that are somewhat translucent, and pink in color. There are avicularia on the inner sides of gymnocysts, and on the outer sides of individual zooids at the same level as the opesia. This species also possesses short, delicate vibraculae located on the posterior-proximal surface of each zooid.

Synonymy:
Cellularia cervicornis Smitt, 1872

Other Taxonomic Groupings:
Suborder: Anasca


II.  HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION 
Regional Occurrence:
S. regularis occurs in the Western Atlantic from Cape Hatteras and Bermuda south through Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It has also been reported to occur in the Pacific Ocean around the Gulf of California.

IRL Distribution:
In the Indian River Lagoon, S. regularis has been documented from the grass flats around the Sebastian Inlet area. It has also been collected coastally from Sebastian Inlet, Ft. Pierce Breakwater, Walton Rocks, and Capron Shoals (Winston 1982).


III.  LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY
Age, Size, Lifespan:
Individual zooids measure an average of 0.51 X 0.20 mm. Lophophore averages 0.464 mm in diameter and bears 13 tentacles.

Abundance:
S. regularis is collected year-round, but is most common in the winter and spring months (Winston 1982, 1995).

Locomotion:
Sessile

Reproduction:
Ovicells are present in S. regularis. These tend to be hyperstomial and flat near the top portion with a few large pores.

Embryology:
Brooded embryos are pink to red in color. Colonies containing both embryos and larvae have been collected March - April.


IV.  PHYSICAL TOLERANCES
Salinity:
S. regularis is typically collected from areas where salinity exceeds 30 (Winston 1995).


V.  COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
Trophic Mode:
S. regularis, 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 could 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). In the IRL, S. regularis has been collected from the rhodophyte Solieria (Winston 1982).

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