21 May 2015

The brown bryozoan & the silk scarf

Bugula neritina on fine silk jacquard

The 'common fouling organism' Bugula neritina is a such a magnificent insignificant that it could be awarded a Magnificant Medal, but where would it wear it?
Under the microscope a living specimen looks very different indeed from the picture presented to the naked eye. Each delicate frond consists of two or three rows of little compartments set ened to end, those of the different rows being not quite opposite to each other. The compartments are about 1 mm long and vary from one-quarter to one-fifth of that in width, and each has an aperture from which a small but very beautiful crown of tentacles may be extruded.
In all probability the whole specimen will have arisen from one individual, the growth process being an extraordinarily extensive proliferation by budding . . .
– W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores, fully revised and illustrated by Isobel Bennett, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1987

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