Anti-Cancer Bryozoan!



      Bugula neritina is a sessile bryozoan that belongs to a clade of aquatic protostomes (Fuchs et al. 2011).  An organism is classified as a protostome if its mouth develops before the anus from the blastopore (Merriam Webster 2014).  Bugula neritina form erect colonies through asexual reproduction.  The colonies form bushy, branching tufts that are a dark red-purple or purple-brown in color.  The organism can grow as tall as 15 cm (Cohen 2011).                

       Colonies consist of individual zooids which contain soft polypides.  The polypides are surrounded by a protective covering called a zooecium.  The zooecia face the same direction and are stacked one-on-top of the other.  The front portion of a zooecium contains a flexible membrane while the upper outer portion of a zooecium is a sharp point.  One branch is made up of two-staggered rows of zooecia.  Unlike other Bugula species, Bugula neritina does not have an avicularia which is an element that opens and closes in a jaw-like fashion (Cohen 2011).    During the larval stage of reproduction, Bugula neritina have blastemic tissues that are used during the metamorphosis stage to produce the adult bryozoans.  These blastemic tissues are established from predetermined cells in the Bugula neritinaBugula neritina also encompass a lophotrohcozoan feeding structure (Fuchs et al. 2011).  Around the lophophore, the organism has between 20-24 white, translucent tentacles in a crown shaped U.  These tentacles are long and rigid and have cilia that line them(Cohen 2011, Merriam Webster 2014).  These tentacles flex creating a current which brings in water into the organism (Global Invasive Species Database, 2005). The tentacles aide in bringing in particles of food in a process called filter feeding, similar to Pollicipies polymerus.  Bugula neritina consumes microscopic plankton (Cohen 2011).

To see how the Bugula neritina fit into the benthic marine good web, visit The
Smithosian Environmental Research Lab Benthic Ecology Lab!

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