|Researched by||Sonia Rowley||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||Bugula plumosa Pallas 1766|
The buff to orange colonies of Crisularia plumosa comprise several feathery tufts up to 8 cm in height. Each 'tuft' consists of spirally arranged branches that arise from a mass of tangled rhizoids. The slender zooids are ca 0.4-0.5 x 0.1-0.2 mm and arranged in two rows along the branches. In this species, over three-quarters of the frontal surface has a membranous covering. The zooids outer margin protrudes distally to form an unjointed spine. No spine is present on the inner margin. The avicularia are very small, shorter than the width of the zooids and have a slightly down curved lip (beak). The polypides have 14 tentacles.
Crisularia plumosa may be mistaken for Bugulina flabellata due to their similar tufted appearance although Bugulina flabellata has much broader flattened 'tufts'. Like most other bryozoan species, Crisularia plumosa is predated upon by various species of nudibranchs such as Antiopella cristata and Polycera faeroensis. Crisularia plumosa is primarily a southern species replaced mainly by Crisularia purpurotincta in the north of the British Isles.
The ovicells of this species appear globular when full of embryos. The embryos are yellow and present from July to September. The first zooid to form a colony after metamorphosis from a free-swimming larvae (known as the ancestrula) is vase-shaped, having a circular, terminal frontal membrane with no surrounding spines (Ryland & Hayward, 1977).
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Last Updated: 12/09/2007