An erect bryozoan (Crisularia purpurotincta)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Crisularia purpurotincta forms an erect, densely tufted, branched colony about 8 cm in height and is a purplish-red colour when dry. The branches have slender zooids. Individual zooids are about 0.56 by 0.17 mm and alternate along dichotomously dividing branches. Avicularia are present and attached halfway down the outer margin of the autozooid and have a hooked beak. Brood chambers (ooecia) are hemispherical.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

A nationally scarce species recorded off Shetland, the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and in the Firth of Lorn, West Scotland. It has also been recorded off Northumberland, North Yorkshire and Northern Ireland.

Global distribution

Found northwards from the British Isles through Norway to Spitzbergen.


Crisularia purpurotincta can be found attached to shells and hydroids at low water spring tides and shallow waters down to a maximum recorded depth of 274 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Colony erect, branched and densely tufted.
  • Colony 8 cm in height.
  • Branches dividing dichotomously.
  • Purplish-red in colour when dried.
  • Zooids are about 0.56 x 0.17 mm.
  • Avicularia have a hooked beak.
  • Avicularia are attached halfway down the outer margin of the autozooid.
  • Ooecia are hemispherical.

Additional information

Identification to species level may require microscopic examination. For a detailed key see Hayward & Ryland (1998).

Listed by

- none -


  1. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.), 1995. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Volume 2. Molluscs to Chordates. Oxford Science Publications. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. 1998. Cheilostomatous Bryozoa. Part 1. Aeteoidea - Cribrilinoidea. Shrewsbury: Field Studies Council. [Synopses of the British Fauna, no. 10. (2nd edition)]

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line]

  5. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-04-25


This review can be cited as:

Neish, A.H. 2003. Crisularia purpurotincta An erect bryozoan. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25-04-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 28/01/2003