Biflustra grandicella


Scientific Name: Biflustra grandicella

Phylum: Bryozoa

Class: Gymnolaemata

Order: Cheilostomatida

Family: Membraniporidae

Genus: Biflustra [Updated to the synonymised name Acanthodesia after database completed; entries refer to Biflustra unless otherwise noted]


grandicella (also known as Acanthodesia grandicella and Membranipora grandicella) (Gordon 2015) [Describe here as A. iricolor]

Native Distribution

Origin Realm:

Temperate Northern Pacific, Central Indo-Pacific, Temperate Australasia

Native Region:

Origin Location:

CONFLICT: Southern Australia and New Zealand Temperate Northern Pacific [Membranipora grandicella (Synonymized taxon)] From the north to the the south of China. (Liu 1992) STATED Central Indo-Pacific [China] Ailian Bay; Beibu Gulf of China; Hong Kong (Ge et al. 2007; Liu 1992; Yan et al. 2006; Morrisey and Miller 2009; GBIF 2015) STATED [Singapore] (GBIF 2015) STATUS NOT STATED [Taipei] (GBIF 2015) STATUS NOT STATED Kampung Kuala Temoyong, Langkawi, Malaysia: 6°17'N, 99°44'E (Taylor & Tan 2015) [Membranipora grandicella (Synonymized taxon)] From the north to the the south of China. (Liu 1992) STATED Temperate Australasia [New Zealand] New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (Gordon 2015) STATUS NOT STATED

Geographic Range:

[Western Pacific] China; New Zealand (Liu 1992) [Acanthodesia grandicella (Synonymized taxon)] Hong Kong: 21°33'N, 116°15E. (Canu & Bassler 1929)

General Diversity:


Non-native Distribution

Invasion History:

Yes, see inv_propens

Non-native Region:

Southern Australia and New Zealand

Invasion Propens:

CONFLICT: Southern Australia and New Zealand Temperate Australasia [Golden Bay, New Zealand] first documented record of B. grandicella outside of its native Chinese waters. Collected by trawling from southern Golden Bay in 2003 (Morrisey and Miller 2009) *Introduced New Zealand (Tilbrook 2012) *Invasive

Status Date Non-native:

[Golden Bay, New Zealand] Collected by trawling from southern Golden Bay in 2003 (Morrisey and Miller 2009) Queensland coast, Australia: as far bachk as 2005. (Tilbrook 2012) West Point, Magnetic Island, Townsville: July 2011. (Tilbrook 2012)

Vectors and Spread

Initial Vector:

Hull fouling (not specified, recreational)

Second Vector:


Vector Details:

[Golden Bay, New Zealand] No merchant-vessel port; Grange and Gordon (2005) could not explain how B. grandicella may have first entered the bay. Findings from the present study at least implicate pleasure craft as a potential source of reproductive colonies (Gordon et al 2008) Gordon et al. (2008) found the vessel fouled by the species that had spent time in Cairns, Budaberg and Mackay after sailing through Polynesia and Melanesia. (Tilbrook 2012)

Spread Rate:

Golden Bay, New Zealand: It was then shown that since establishment, this species had spread very rapidly to occupy an area of approximately 255km2although the main distribution covered an area 44km2 in depths of 15-25m on muddy sediment (Handley 2006)

Date First Observed in Japan:


Date First Observed on West coast North America:



Impact in Japan:


Global Impact:

[China] Marine fouling of fixed platforms; Biofouling on underwater parts of man-made marine structures...increases static and hydrodynamic loading, but also affects corrosion characteristics and impedes underwater inspection and maintenance (Yan and Yan 2003; Yan et al 2006; Tao et al 1999) [New Zealand] It is possible that the spread of B. grandicella could be accompanied by a loss of associated biodiversity, particularly if it invaded the Separation Point beds (Morrissey and Miller 2008; Handley 2006) [New Zealand] Basketball-sized colonies were so abundant that on occasion they filled the scallop dredge nets (D. Gordon pers. comm. 2003, cited in Tilbrook 2012) [New Zealand] Wild fisheries have also been impacted by the introduction of biofouling species including the bryozoans (Bell et al. 2011) [New Zealand] B. grandicella (and marine bryozoans in general) referred to as habitat-forming (Wood et al. 2012) RELATED Bryozoans are a significant and ecologically important component of coral reef ecosystems, aiding their structural integrity (Cuffey 1972) and providing food for many fishes and molluscs (Lidgard 2008) (cited in Tilbrook 2012)


Native Temperature Regime:

Cool temperate, Mild temperate, Warm temperate, Subtropical, Tropical

Native Temperature Range:

Was previously known to be strictly tropical (Gordon et al 2008) [Daya Bay, China] annual water temperature 18-31°C (Yan and Huang 1990) Quingdao: max 27.0ºC in summer and min 2.1ºC in winter. (Clark et al. 2003) Hong Kong: max 28.5ºC in summer and min 18.1ºC in winter. (Clark et al. 2003) Cool temperate, Mild temperate, Warm temperate, Subtropical, Tropical (M. Otani, pers. comm.)

Non-native Temperature Regime:

Cool temperate, Tropical

Non-native Temperature Range:

Mackey: max 31.0ºC in summer and min 18.0ºC in winter. (Clark et al. 2003) Cairns: max 31.0ºC in summer and min 18.5ºC in winter. (Clark et al. 2003) It is not obvious whether these ports are invaded by the species, but ships fouled by the species were found there. (e. x. Tilbrook 2012) Cool temperate, Tropical (M. Otani, pers. comm.) [Invaded region] West Point, Magnetic Island, off Townsville: max 32.4ºC in summer and min 19.0ºC in winter at Townsville. (Clark et al. 2003)

Native Salinity Regime:

Mesohaline, Polyhaline, Euhaline

Native Salinity Range:

Quingdao: max 32.6psu in dry period and min 31.6psu in wet period. (Clark et al. 2003) Hong Kong: max 34.0psu in dry period and min 10.0psu in wet period. (Clark et al. 2003)

Non-native Salinity Regime:

Mesohaline, Polyhaline, Euhaline

Temperature Regime Survival:

See details

Temperature Range Survival:

RELATED: [Acanthodesia spp.] 7.967 - 26.626 ºC (OBIS 2016) [Biflustra spp.] 7.967 - 24.203ºC (OBIS 2016)

Temperature Regime Reproduction:


Temperature Range Reproduction:


Salinity Regime Survival:

See details

Salinity Range Survival:

RELATED: [Acanthodesia spp.] 32.397 - 35.563 PPS (OBIS 2016) [Biflustra spp.] 32.397 - 36.289 PPS (OBIS 2016)

Salintiy Regime Reproduction:

Polyhaline, Euhaline

Salinity Range Reproduction:


Depth Regime:

Shallow subtidal; Deep subtidal

Depth Range:

[New Zealand] Collected in depths of 15 -25m (Morrisey and Miller 2009) Collected 9 m (Canu & Bassler 1929 in OBIS 205) Chinese coast: 0-80m. (Liu 1992) China Sea, vicinity of Hong Kong: 88 fathoms. (Canu & Bassler 1929)

Non-native Salinity Range:

Native Abundance:



Fertilization Mode:


Reproduction Mode:


Spawning Type:


Development Mode:

Planktotrophic planktonic larva (feeding)

Asexual Reproduction:

Budding/fragmentation (Splitting into unequal parts. Buds may form on the body of the “parent”)

Reproduction Details:

B. g. produces planktonic larvae that may live for many days or even weeks. (Gordon & Grange 2007) RELATED: [Membranipora] Studies on Membranipora membranacea shows that it has planktotrophic developmental pattern (Temkin 1991) [Membraniporidea] Shed numerous small eggs directlyto the sea (Hayward & Ryland 1998) and fetilize in the sea. (Mawatari 1976) These develop into shelled, planktorophic larvae, termed cyphonautes, which feed and grow during several weeks or months spent in the plankton. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Cheilostomata] Free spawning species produce the characteristic triangular cyphonautes larva. These larvae are long-lived and planktotrophic. The larval body is enclosed in a membranous shell; the size can be up to little over 1 mm. Cyphonautes larvae are not keyed out - if possible at all. (van Couwelaar 2003) [Gymnolaemates] Internal fertilization, whether intracoelomic or intraovarian, is obligatory (Temkin 1994 and 1996, cited in Ostrovsky 2013) [Gymnolaemates] Differ from most organisms in that sperm-egg fusion does not stimulate egg activation. Egg activation may not occur until "spawned" outside of maternal zooid (Temkin 1991) [Bryozoans] While sperm is spawned through pores in lophophore tentacles, eggs are usually harbored inside the body wall, and are internally fertilized by sperm, coming in on lophophore feeding currents (Brusca and Brusca 2003, cited in Rouse 2011; Kozloff 1990, cited in Rouse 2011) [Bryozoans] Colonial hermaphrodites, with testes (spermatogenic tissue) and ovaries developing either within the same zooid (zooidal hermaphroditism) or in different zooids within the same colony (zooidal gonochorism) (Ostrovsky 2013) [Bryozoans] Members of the phylum Bryozoa are hermaphroditic. Both fertilization and egg brooding may either be internal or external (Ruppert et al. 2004) [Bryozoans] The first zooid in a colony is called the ancestrula. It is from this individual that the rest of the colony will grow asexually from the budding (Hill 2001) [Bryozoa] All bryozoan colonies are hermaphroditic. Autozooids may be dioecious; or monoecious, and protandrous or protogynous. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Bryozoa] Reproduces asexually by budding. (Mawatari 1976)

Adult Mobility:


Adult Mobility Details:

It can encrust any underwater object (Liu 1992) RELATED: [Bryozoa] The abundance and taxonomic diversity of benthic bryozoan faunas are directly related to substratum. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Bryozoa] Bryozoans are a phylum of sessile, colonial suspension feeders found throughout the world in both marine and freshwater environments. (Tilbrook 2012)

Maturity Size:

Colonies were in the size range 100 x 70mm to 400 x 300mm; basketball-sized colonies (Tilbrook 2012; D. Gordon pers. comm. 2003, cited in Tilbrook 2012) Autozooids: 150-250μm (Tilbrook 2012)

Maturity Age:


Reproduction Lifespan:




Broods per Year:


Reproduction Cues:

RELATED: [Bryozoans] Experiments often used light as a cue to collect embryos/larvae (Woollacott and Zimmer 1977) [Bryozoa] In coastal species light is an important stimulus to larval release, and many cheilostomates shed larvae during the first few hours of daylight. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Bryozoa] In various degrees of intensity according to the species temperature also stimulates sexual reproduction. (Winston 1977)

Reproduction Time:

Bio-fouling flourishing period is from July to October in the north of China (Kong et al. 2000, cited in Ge et al 2007)



Egg Size:

RELATED: [Gymnolaemata] About 200µm (Woollacott and Zimmer 1977)

Egg Duration:


Early Life Growth Rate:

RELATED: [Gymnolaemata] Two phases of larvae metamorphosis: first stage about 20mins; second stage 1-6 days (Woollacott and Zimmer 1977)

Adult Growth Rate:


Population Growth Rate:


Population Variablity:

From its first record in 2003 B. g. doubled in total amount collected over the next two years but is thought to have been in decline thereafter. (Tilbrook 2012)



Sediment subtidal, Other, Fouling

Habitat Type:

Epibenthic, Epizoic


Mud, Biogenic, Artificial substrate



Habitat Expansion:


Habitat Details:

[China] Offshore oil field panels; it can encrust any underwater object; One of the commonest fouling bryozoans from the north to the south of China (Yan and Yan 2003; Liu 1992) Two small shells encrusted with Biflustra grandicella (Tilbrook 2012) Muddy sediment (Handley 2006) B. g. encrusts any underwater object (Liu 1992), shells and hulls of recreational vessels (Gordon et al. 2008, cited in Tilbrook 2012).

Trophic Level:

Suspension feeder

Trophic Details:

RELATED: [Bryozoans] Suspension feeder...filter phytoplankton less than 0.045mm in size from the water column. (Hill 2001) [Bryozoa] Many phytoplankton species are cleary unsuitable as food for bryozoans. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Cheilostomata] Main food is diatom, protozoans and etc. and unappropriate sized particles are ejected (Mawatari 1976)

Forage Mode:


Forage Details:

RELATED: [Bryozoans] Suspension feeder...filter phytoplankton less than 0.045mm in size from the water column. (Hill 2001) [Bryozoa] Many phytoplankton species are cleary unsuitable as food for bryozoans. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Cheilostomata] Main food is diatom, protozoans and etc. and unappropriate sized particles are ejected (Mawatari 1976)

Natural Control:

RELATED: PREDATION [Predation] [Bryozoa] Browsers and grazers, including sea urchins, fish, crabs and some prosobranchs, are known to include bryozoans in their diet. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Predation] [Bryozoa] Bryozoans are also the prey of very many small, selective predators, some of which may be adapted to a very narrow spectrum of prey species. Among them opisthobranch predators of bryozoans are well known. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) [Predation] [Bryozoa] Other than opisthobranchs as a predator, amphipods, isopods, mites and pycnogonids have all been recorded preying on bryozoan colonies. (Hayward & Ryland 1998) EPIBIONTS [Epibionts] [Cheilostomata] It is frequently observed in Japan that several species of hydroids flourish on Cheilostomata cause damages to them. (Mawatari 1976)

Associated Species:

EPIBIONTS [Epibionts] B. g. has a 'cleaness' surface with very few associated species because of the deterrent chemicals produced by the colony. (Gordon & Grange 2007)

References and Notes


Bell, A., Philips, S., Georgiades, E., & Kluza, D. (2011). Risk Analysis: Vessel Biofouling. Retrieved from Canu F & Bassler RS (1929) Contributions to the biology of the Philippine Archipelago and adjacent regions. Bryozoa of the Philippine region. Smithsonian Institutuion United States National Museum Bulletin 100: 1-685. Clarke C, Hillard R, Junqueira AOR, Neto ACL, Polglaze J, Raaymakers S (2003) Ballast water risk assessment, Port of Sepetiba, Fedral Republic of Brazil. GloBallast Monograph Series 14: 1-63 + 7 Appendices. Ge, C., Fang, J., Guan, C., Wang, W., & Jiang, Z. (2007). Metabolism of marine net pen fouling organism community in summer. Aquaculture Research, 38(10), 1106-1109. Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2109.2007.01692.x Global Biodiversity Information Facility. (2015). Search occurrences. Retrieved from Gordon, D. (2015). Biflustra grandicella (Canu & Bassler, 1929). In: P. Bock & D. Gordon (Eds.). World List of Bryozoa. Retrieved from Gordon D & Grange K (2007) Basketball-sized alien bryozoan could threaten native fish habitat. Accessed Date: 26-Feb-2016. Gordon, D. P., Hosie, A. M., & Carter, M. C. (2008). Post-2000 detection of warm-water alien bryozoan species in New Zealand–the significance of recreational vessels. Virginia Mus Nat Hist Spec Pub, 15, 37-48. Handley, S. (2006). An analysis of historical impacts and composition of the benthic environment of Tasman and Golden Bays. (Report No. NEL2006-002). Retrieved from New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research website: Hayward PF & Ryland JS (1998) Cheilostomatous Bryozoa part I. Aeteoidea - Cribrilinoidea. Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series). Barnes RSK & Crothers JH (eds.) No. 10 (Second Edition). The Linnean Society of London and The Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association by Field Studies Council: 366pp. Hill, K. (2001) Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. Retrieved from Liu, X. (1992). On the genus Membranipora (Anasca: Cheilostomata: Bryozoa) from south Chinese seas. Raffles Bull. Zool, 40(1), 103-144. Mawatari S (1976) Bryozoa (Ectoprocta). In: Animal systematics. Uchida T (ed.) Nakayama-shoten Co. Ltd., Tokyo: 35-229. (in Japanese) Morrisey, D. & Miller, S. (2009). Review of existing information on marine biosecurity in the top of the South Island. (Technical Paper No: 2009/02). Retrieved from MAF Biosecurity New Zealand website: OBIS. (2015). Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Retrieved from OBIS. Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Access date: 14-09-2016 *Note: genus level data Ostrovsky, A. N. (2013). Evolution of Sexual Reproduction in Marine Invertebrates – Example of gymnolaemate bryozoans. Dordrectht: Springer Netherlands. Doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7146-8 Rouse, S. (2011). Aetea anguina. Bryozoa of the British Isles. Retrieved from Ruppert, E.E., Fox, R.S., & Barnes, R.D. (2004). Invertebrate Zoology: A functional evolutionary approach. Ann Arbor, MN: Thomson Brooks/Cole. Tao, Y., Wen-xia, Y., Yu, D., Hua-jie, W., Yan, Y., & Guan-he, L. (1999). Marine fouling in offshore areas east of Hainan Island, northern South China Sea. Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 17(3), 233-239. Taylor PD & Tan SHA (2015) Cheilostome Bryozoa from Penang and Langkawi, Malaysia. European Journal of Taxonomy 149: 1-34. Doi: 10.5852/ejt.2015.149. Temkin, M. H. (1991). Fertilization in the Gymnolaemate Bryozoa (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (DP23819). Tilbrook, K. J. (2012). Bryozoa, Cheilostomata: First records of two invasive species in Australia and the northerly range extension for a third. Check List, 8(1), 181-183. Van Couwelaar, M. (2003). Zooplankton and Micronekton of the North Sea. Retrieved from Winston JE (1977). Distribution and ecology of estuarine ectoprocts: A critical review. Chesapeake Science, 18:, 34‐57. doi:10.2307/1350363. Wood, A. C., Probert, P. K., Rowden, A. A., & Smith, A. M. (2012). Complex habitat generated by marine bryozoans: a review of its distribution, structure, diversity, threats and conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22(4), 547-563. Woollacott, R. M., & Zimmer, R. L. (Eds.). (1977). Biology of Bryozoans. New York, NY: Academic Press Yan, S., & Huang, Z. (1990). Study of fouling organisms in Daya Bay, China. Biofouling, 2(3), 229-237. Yan, T., & Yan, W. X. (2003). Fouling of offshore structures in China-a review. Biofouling, 19(S1), 133-138. Yan, T., Yan, W., Dong, Y., Wang, H., Yan, Y., & Liang, G. (2006). Marine fouling of offshore installations in the northern Beibu Gulf of China. International biodeterioration & biodegradation, 58(2), 99-105.


Limited information; expert opinion based on observational information or circumstantial evidence


Majority of research is from China, often referring it as M. grandicella. I cannot locate this reference online but it talks specifically about B. grandicella, invasion and impact: Grange, K. R., & Gordon, D. P. (2005). The spread and potential impact of the introduced bryozoan Biflustra grandicella. NIWA Final fisheries report for Ministry of Fisheries Research Project ZBS2003-07 Objectives 1, 2, 3, 30pp.