No common name

Botryllus schlosseri

ORDER Pleurogona

FAMILY Styelidae

TAXONOMY

Alcyonium schlosseri Pallas, 1766, Falmouth, English Channel.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Colonial species. Colonies usually are flat, encrusting stones or algae, or sometimes lobed. Typically not exceeding 3.9 in (10 cm) in diameter. Zooids completely embedded in common test and arranged in circular systems. Each system has single central, common cloacal opening surrounded by a circle of branchial openings for each zooid. The test is soft and slimy, generally dark brown. Each zooid has a white or yellow strip on the dorsal side between the orifices; whole colony has a beautiful stellate color pattern. The color pattern, however, may vary significantly.

DISTRIBUTION

Common on northern European coasts and the Mediterranean Sea. Recorded on Atlantic coasts of North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. There is an opinion, however, that Pacific records belong to another similar, but distinct species.

HABITAT

Shallow-water species may grow on all kinds of hard substratum: stones, shells, and algae.

BEHAVIOR

Sessile, attached, immobile species.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Filter feeder.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Egg fertilization and larvae development occur within parent colony.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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