Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Derby Hat Bryozoan

Image: Donna Pomeroy
Eurystomella bilabiata
Oh dear, someones's dropped their... hat?


Image: Donna Pomeroy
Tiny gymnastics mat?

Industrial grade handkerchief?

It's a Bryozoan! Although you'll have to take a very close look to see them not-actually-dance.

Bryozoans are bit like corals but occupy an entire phylum of their own. They're colonial creatures, with lots of tiny clones all attached to each other to make up a single colony. Derby Hat Bryozoans come from the northeast Pacific Ocean, where they live in a simple, calcium carbonate sheet that encrusts rocks.

Image: Donna Pomeroy
When the going's good, the zooids emerge from the crust and extend their tentacles to catch tiny crumbs of food. Each tentacle is covered in cilia to draw drifting morsels toward them and down to their mouth that waits at the centre of the ring of tentacles. And if they just can't wait that long, they can flick a tentacle to bat it down to their gob.

Flicking tentacles on a nice pinky-red dance floor? It's all quite jolly, really!


TexWisGirl said...

it looks like one of those rubber jar-opener gripper pads you use when you can't get a stubborn jar opened. :)

Unknown said...

It looks like a lot of useful things!

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