Spiral Bryozoan    Bugula californicia



Often seen as spiral, tree-like structures, these small colonial animals can be found under floats or protected rocky areas.  The color ranges for white to orange.  They are  only 1 to 2 inches high.  The spiral is composed of flat branches that house multiple individuals (the dark spots on the branches in the photograph).  Each individual is called a zooid and it secretes a calcium based home from which it extends and uses cilia on its tentacles (called a lophophore) to capture and move food to its mouth.  The zooid is quite complicated and is related to two other major groups of higher animals that use a lophophore to capture food.


This species ranges from British Columbia to South America including the Hawaii Islands.  It occurs subtidally to over a 1000 ft on hard substrates.