Overview

Distribution

Escharella variolosa is widespread throughout the NE Atlantic and western Mediterranean. It has been reported from the southern North Sea, the English Channel and the Scilly Isles, but is apparently rare or absent from the north-east coasts of the British Isles.

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© Sally Rouse

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Escharella variolosa is widespread throughout the NE Atlantic and western Mediterranean. It has been reported from the southern North Sea, the English Channel and the Scilly Isles, but is apparently rare or absent from the north-east coasts of the British Isles.

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© Natural History Museum, London

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Physical Description

Morphology

Escharella variolosa is an encrusting bryozoan. Colonies form bright, glistening sheets which are white or straw coloured. The sheets are composed of a single layer of autozooids and normally cover an extensive area. Autozooids are hexagonal or quadrate, often elongated, flat or slightly convex. They range in size from 0.6-0.8 by 0.3-0.5 mm, with two (rarely three) spines present. The zooids are arranged in regular, straight oblique rows.

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© Sally Rouse

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Escharella variolosa is an encrusting bryozoan. Colonies form bright, glistening sheets which are white or straw coloured. The sheets are composed of a single layer of autozooids and normally cover an extensive area. Autozooids are hexagonal or quadrate, often elongated, flat or slightly convex. They range in size from 0.6-0.8 by 0.3-0.5 mm, with two (rarely three) spines present. The zooids are arranged in regular, straight oblique rows.

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© Natural History Museum, London

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Ecology

Habitat

The species is able to colonise hard substrates. It occurs on other Bryozoa such as Cellaria sp and is often abundant on flat shells such as Ostrea, Chlamys and Pecten. It ranges from shallow inshore waters to at least 100 metres, but is thought to be absent from deeper waters.

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© Sally Rouse

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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Depth range based on 12 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 11 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 20 - 96
  Temperature range (°C): 9.728 - 11.905
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.145 - 6.408
  Salinity (PPS): 34.633 - 35.178
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.017 - 6.364
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.239 - 0.682
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.295 - 5.963

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 20 - 96

Temperature range (°C): 9.728 - 11.905

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.145 - 6.408

Salinity (PPS): 34.633 - 35.178

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.017 - 6.364

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.239 - 0.682

Silicate (umol/l): 2.295 - 5.963
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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The species is able to colonise hard substrates. It occurs on other Bryozoa such as Cellaria sp and is often abundant on flat shells such as Ostrea, Chlamys and Pecten. It ranges from shallow inshore waters to at least 100 metres, but is thought to be absent from deeper waters.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Natural History Museum, London

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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