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University of Ottawa

BryozoansCommon name moss animals They are also referred to as the phylum EctoproctaBryozoans are sessile and form colonies of varied sizes and shapes and composed of anywhere from a handful to millions of asexually produced zooids all related to the founding organism the ancestrulaIndividual zooids are bilaterally symmetric and most live inside some sort of protective covering that may be gelatinous chitinous or a combination of chitin and calcareous layersThe colony is a zoarium and the outer casing the zoeciumThe body is divided into two parts the cystid includes the zoecium and the living tissues that produce it and the polypide includes the lophophore and other moveable tissuesThe mesocoel and metacoel are connected to each other and the fluidfilled cavity acts as a hydrostatic skeleton for extending the lophophore pulled back inside by retractor musclesCilia on the surface of the tentacles create the water current that pulls water into the lophophore and they trap food contained in the water passing it down the length of the tentacle to the mouthThe gut is Ushaped and mostly stomach The anus is near the mouth but outside the tentacles of the lophophore its the origin of their other taxonomic name the Ectoprocta or outer anus animalsMembers of the colony are connected by a shared body cavity or only by small pores between the zoaecia of the individual zooids A funiculus a mesenchymal chord connects the stomach to these pores in the body wall presumably its a way to share nutrients among members of the colonyThe large surface area of the lophophoreand is also important in gasexchange removal of metabolic wastesAsexual budding is the more common form of reproduction and in freshwater species asexually produced statoblasts that form on the funiculus are the dormant stage that allows the animal to survive adverse winter conditions
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