Bryozoans come in many shapes and sizes, and usually live in large colonies of identical animals. Each individual lives in a tiny box-like cell, and feeds on particles suspended in the water.
Sea mat bryozoan is very common on kelp leaves, where it spreads across the leaf in a flat lacy sheet. Bryozoans are a favourite food of sea slugs. Hornwrack looks like a small grey plant, but is in fact another bryozoan colony. These colonies grow attached by a stalk to to rocks and weed, and are often found washed up.
False coral bryozoans are hard, branching colonies bright orange in colour, and are easily mistaken for hard coral colonies. A similar species with flat, petal like structures is known as Ross coral, and is found in a few localities such as Renish Point and St Kilda.
Bryozoans (Photo: Paul Tyler)
Although they look like small branching plants, these bryozoans are in fact colonies of tiny animals that filter food from the water
Bryozoan on Kelp (Photo: Paul Tyler)
A kelp leaf with a growing bryozoan colony which is steadily multipying as it grows along the leaf blade, The colony is made up of thousands of individual animals.
Nudibranchs feeding on Bryozoans (Photo: Paul Tyler)
Bryozoans are a favourite food of sea slugs
False Coral Bryozoans (Photo: Paul Tyler)
This hard orange structure looks like coral but is in fact a colony of bryozoans
by Paul Tyler