Overview

Comprehensive Description

General Description

Chartella papyracea occurs throughout the British Isles. The species is apparently restricted to the temperate east Atlantic, ranging from the southern North Sea through the English channel, the south and west coasts of the UK, the Irish Sea to the northern coast of Spain

Colonies are predominantly found in the shallow subtidal on hard substrates, but they may also colonise overhangs on rocky shores, near the low water mark. Chartella papyracea forms delicate tuft-like colonies with flattened branching fronds.  Fresh colonies are brown or light grey and grow to up to 10 cm in height.

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Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Distribution

Voor de Belgische kust werd een kolonie verzameld in 1899, 1900 en 1905 (collectie KBIN). In die periode werden ook vele kolonies uit het Kanaal opgevist. Recent is een kolonie aangespoeld op een visnet in Oostende.
  • De Blauwe, H. (2009). Mosdiertjes van de Zuidelijke Bocht van de Noordzee. Determinatiewerk voor België en Nederland. Uitgave Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, Oostende: 464pp.
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Chartella papyracea appears restricted to the temperate east Atlantic, ranging from the southern North Sea through the English channel, the south and west coasts of the UK, the Irish Sea to the northern coast of Spain. The species has been recorded as abundant from dredge samples off the north and west coast of France. Not  thought to occur in the Mediterranean.

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Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Physical Description

Morphology

Colonies establish as an encrusting sheet of non-sexual feeding and non-feeding (kenozooids) zooids. Small delicate tufts of flat radiating fronds arise from a short flattened stem, diverging to both sides. Kenozooids border the edge of the fronds.

Chartella papyracea is only lightly calcified and the colony as whole is flexible, allowing it move with the current. Zooids are simple, approximately rectangular in shape and are arranged “back to back” to form bilaminar sheets. Short, thick spines protrude from the two distal corners of each zooid, furthest from the colony origin. The frontal surface of the zooids is entirely membranous and no gymnocyst is present.
Opercula (flap-like folds of the body wall which close the orifice) are lightly chitinized and avicularia are absent.

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Size

Colonies typically grow up to 10 cm in height. Zooids are 0.5 by 0.2 mm

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Diagnostic Description

Description

De kolonie vormt een witachtig, delicaat bosje tot 3 cm hoog. Lijkt op miniatuur van Flustra foliacea. De smalle bladen zijn tweelagig. Zoïden rechthoekig 0,5 x 0,2 mm. Wanden dun, licht verkalkt; een korte dikke stekel op de distale hoeken van de zoïde. Operculum licht gechitiniseerd, met een dunne marginale verharding. Avicularia komen niet voor. Broedkamers verzonken, zichtbaar als een kleine gewelfde kap, zijn opening distaal van het operculum. Embryo’s bleek oranje.
  • De Blauwe, H. (2009). Mosdiertjes van de Zuidelijke Bocht van de Noordzee. Determinatiewerk voor België en Nederland. Uitgave Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, Oostende: 464pp.
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Look Alikes

Chartella papyracea has a similar colony form to several other species in the family Flustridae. In particular C. papyracea may be mistaken for Flustra foliacea, but can be distinguished by the larger zooids and more delicate calcification than F. foliacea. Additionally, in F. foliacea, the fronds are broader and larger. Chartella papyracea can be distinguished from C. barleei -the only other species of the genus to occur in Britain - by the presence of short thick spines at each distal corner of the zooids, and the absence of avicularia.

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Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 14 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 32.8
  Temperature range (°C): 10.708 - 10.708
  Nitrate (umol/L): 7.362 - 7.362
  Salinity (PPS): 34.219 - 34.219
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.665 - 6.665
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.626 - 0.626
  Silicate (umol/l): 4.454 - 4.454

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 32.8
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Chartella papyracea is a cold temperate species that is most frequently found on hard substrates in the shallow subtidal. Colonies are also (rarely) found beneath overhangs on rocky shores, near the low water mark. The species occurs as a codominant with Bugula flabellata in communities colonizing vertical, shaded, sbulittoral rock surface in the the Bristol Channel.

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Trophic Strategy

Like all bryozoans, C. papyracea is a suspension feeder. It feeds on small phytoplankton using ciliated tentacles of the lophophore.

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General Ecology

Ecology

Distinguishing individual colonies of C. papyracea can be problematic. The holdfasts of adjacent colonies frequently come into contact, and multiple colonies may appear as one, although there is no fusion. Other colonies often become fragmented by mechanical disruption or partial overgrowth.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

The founding zooid (ancestrula) develops into a young colony, and later into an adult colony through asexual budding. Zooids formed in early spring are male (androzooids) and may become opaque white in colour as testis develop. Zooids developing later in the growing season are female (gynozooids). Sexually produced embryos are brooded within the colony, before larvae are released, around six weeks after gynozooid completion. Larvae settle after liberation and metamorphose into an ancestrula.

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Life Expectancy

Fronds are expected to live for 2-3 years, but the encrusting part of the colony may exceed this. The life expectancy of a colony, as opposed to fronds, is difficult to assess in C. papyracea, mainly because of the difficultly in delimiting the extent of any one colony. 

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Reproduction

The colony and individual fronds are hermaphroditic, but individual zooids are either male or female. Brood chambers (ovicells) are immersed within the zooid (endozooidal) and appear as small domed cap at the distal end (furthest from the colony origin) of the female zooids. The sexually-produced embryos, pale orange in colour, are brooded until larval release in the summer months and continuing into October. The larvae are non-feeding coronate larvae, which lack a shell and have a densely ciliated belt (the corona) for locomotion. Several generations of larvae are produced in a single summer breeding season.

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Growth

Colonies grow through asexual budding of new zooids at the periphery. Growth of Chartella papyracea is perennial, typically from early spring, throughout the summer to early October. Erect fronds die by detachment within 2-3 years, but the encrusting portion of the colony may live longer. Annual growth checks, in the form of lines across the frond surface are frequently visible.

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