- sidestep: bryozoans from the Red Sea

Last update 11-5-2010

Example of a bryozoan

I spent a week of diving in Dahab - Gulf of Aquaba - searching for bryozoa.
I found several species which are shown here.
More general information about bryozoa form the Red Sea below.

From "Red Sea Invertebrates" p178:

Bryozoans are colonial, sessile animals in which individuals or zooids are usually less than half a millimeter in length. In most cases, the zooids are encased in a non-living envelope which contains an opening for the protrusion of a food-catching organ or lophophore. Whereas most bryozoans from flat encrusting colonies, some are plant-like and others form erect plates and are known as "lace-corals". Within a particular colony, in which zooids bud off from each other by asexual reproduction, there may be several kinds of zooids, each specialized for a particular function.
If one turns over a coral-slab the underside is likely to be heavily encrusted with a variety of organisms among which bryozoans are almost certain to be represented. Indeed, almost anywhere one looks closely at hard substrata in the Red Sea, bryozoans are likely to be discovered. They are among the first organisms to colonize newly exposed surface on coral-reefs. In so doing they play a significant role in cementing together the coral fragments and thus consolidating the structure of the reefs. Identification of species is based upon microscopic examination of their zooids.

The lists below and the description tables follow "Red Sea Invertebrates" p179, with additions and corrections from other sources and cross checks with various internet sources (such as name and date of description).

Please click on the links below for a more detailed description

Cheilostomata anasca

Cheilostomata ascophora imperfecta



Cheilostomata ascophora vera

For the Dutch backisch- and seawater species see  the site by M. Faasse.