Overview

Comprehensive Description

General Description

Aetea sica occurs on all British coasts and is reported to be presenting many parts of the world, except polar waters. The species ranges from the lower shore and subtidal waters, down to about 80 m, and occasionally deeper.

Aetea sica colonises a range of substrates including algae as well as hard substrates. The colonies are white in colour. They are composed of creeping, branching stolons, made up of tubular zooids which rest against the substrate at the proximal end (closest to the colony origin), and rise into a free erect portion at the distal end.

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© Natural History Museum, London

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Colonies of A. sica consist of creeping stolons from which erect tubular portions arise. These typically measure from 0.1 - 1.8 mm in height. The basal portions of tubes are marked with fine annulations. Tubular portions of zooid are slightly expanded at the aperture. Proportion of this "head" region to the stolon region is approximately 1:3 (Winston 1982).
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Distribution

In België op aangespoeld plastic, doch minder algemeen dan Aetea anguinea. Lacourt (1949) vermeldt het aanspoelen op kurk in Scheveningen.
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© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

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A. sica is highly cosmopolitan, with wide distribution except in the polar regions. In the Western Atlantic, it commonly occurs from Cape Hatteras south through Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean to Brazil. Within the India River Lagoon, A. sica has been collected from seagrass beds and from the red algae Solieria tenera. Coastally, it has been collected at Ft. Pierce Breakwater, Walton Rocks and Seminole Shores on drift algae (Sargassum), attached algae, and bushy bryozoans (Amathia, Zoobotryon, Bugula, etc.) (Winston 1982).
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Physical Description

Size

The erect tubular portions of zooids measure approximately 0.1 - 1.8 mm in height.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Diagnostic Description

Description

Kolonie als Aetea anguinea. Stelen van de zoïden lang en tenger, geringd bij doorlichting. Het distaal deel dat het frontale membraan draagt, is lichtjes breder dan de steel en is ongeveer 1/3 van de vrije lengte. Het opgerichte zoïdendeel is recht en langer dan bij A. anguinea. Gedroogde zoïden kunnen toch gebogen zijn zoals in foto 129 en foto 130 waar de membraneuze zone naar boven gericht is. Bij Aetea anguinea daarentegen is de membraneuze zone naar het substraat gericht. Broedzakken zeldzaam.
  • 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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© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Look Alikes

A. sica could be mistaken for A. truncata, because both species have a similar growth pattern where stolons widen into zooid bases from which tubular portions arise. However, A. sica has a pattern of fine annulations on its basal portions that is not seen in A. truncata.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 7 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 18 - 201
  Temperature range (°C): 7.306 - 7.892
  Nitrate (umol/L): 17.133 - 17.420
  Salinity (PPS): 34.487 - 34.748
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.493 - 4.657
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.270 - 1.283
  Silicate (umol/l): 11.806 - 13.543

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 18 - 201

Temperature range (°C): 7.306 - 7.892

Nitrate (umol/L): 17.133 - 17.420

Salinity (PPS): 34.487 - 34.748

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.493 - 4.657

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.270 - 1.283

Silicate (umol/l): 11.806 - 13.543
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

Sargassumsica was most commonly found in association with seagrasses, marine drift algae such as Sargassum, and with attached algae and other bryozoans such as Amathia, Zoobotryon, and Bugula species (Winston 1982).
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

Seagrasses as well as floating macroalgae, provide support for bryozoan colonies. In turn, bryozoans provide habitat for many species of juvenile fishes and their invertebrate prey such as polychaete worms, amphipods and copepods. (Winston 1995).Bryozoans are also found in association with other species that act as support structures: mangrove roots, oyster beds, mussels, etc.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Population Biology

A. sica has been collected in the IRL from February through October, with peak abundance in September and October.Locomotion: Sessile
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Reproductive season in this species is unknown (Winston 1982).
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Growth

Embryos are brooded externally in a membranous ovisac.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Benefit in IRL: Bryozoans are ecologically important in the Indian River Lagoon due to their feeding method. As suspension feeders, they act as living filters in the marine environment. For example, Winston (1995) reported that bryozoan colonies located in 1 square meter of seagrass bed could potentially filter and recirculate an average of 48,000 gallons of seawater per day.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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