Reproductive Biology

Observations lean toward it being hermaphroditic and protan-drous. Breeding in San Francisco Bay runs from late February-May. Mature fertilized eggs are found in partially formed zooid buds that metamorphose into gonozoids, or brooding zooids, each nurturing a single embryo. Gonozooid is shaped like a vase, with a fat mid-region and a short neck, and is attached to the main colonial skeleton by a narrow stalk. The neck provides an opening for the escape of free-swimming larvae.

The eggs are fertilized internally, but the details of maturation and fertilization are not known. Fertilization is internal. The egg undergoes cleavage and develops into a 200-cell sphere, and then it goes on to undertake a process found only in stenolaemate bryozoans, producing buds that become independent, secondary embryos. These develop into free-swimming larvae and leave the gonozooid through its open neck. These settle, become ancestrules, and produce new colonies.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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