Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 2002
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 2002

General Invasion History:

Celleporaria pilaefera is an encrusting bryozoan with a broad range in the Indo-Pacific, including Mauritius, the Red Sea, India, the Philippines (type locality), and Vanuatu (Swami and Karande 1994), although whether this distribution represents its native range is not known. 

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

In 2002, Celleporaria pilaefera was found growing in low abundance (on two plates, one colony each) at Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville, Florida, on the St. Johns River estuary (McCann et al. 2007). It has not yet been found in other East Coast locations.

Invasion History in Hawaii:

In 1997 , C. pilaefera was collected in Honolulu Harbor and Keehi Lagoon, Oahu (Coles et al. 1999a). It was also found in Kaneohe Bay (Coles et al. 2002a) and Waikiki (Coles et al. 2002b).  It is considered introduced in the Hawaiian Islands, probably by ship hull fouling (James T. Carlton, personal communication). A population was also found at the remote Johnston Atoll, 1325 km southwest of Honolulu (Coles et al. 2001). 

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

In 1977, Celleporaria pilaefera was collected on oyster aquaculture cages, in Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea (Agius et al. 1977). There are no further records of this bryozoan in Malta or elsewhere in the Mediterranean and oyster aquaculture has ceased (Sciberras and Schembri 2007). In 2007, it was found on the hull of a wrecked fishing vessel off the coast of New Zealand (Williams et al. 2008). Aside from the records in Jacksonville, Florida, Hawaii, and Johnston Atoll there are no known established populations of this bryozoan.


Celleporaria pilaefera forms encrusting colonies. Its zooids are irregularly polygonal in outline, and about 0.40 mm long by 0.35 mm wide. The polypide in each zooid has 13-16 brown-tipped tentacles. The frontal wall is convex, with a raised unperforated, granular, calcified region centered around the orifice, and large round pores scattered at or near the zooid margins. The orifice is large relative to zooid size, and slightly more than semi-circular distally, with a smooth and shallowly concave proximal margin, with small condyles at the hinge. Below the orifice is a mound (umbo) which forms the base of an avicularium. This bryozoan does not have avicularia at the boundaries between zooids, but does have occasional scattered avicularia. The ovicells are cap-shaped, and open with unperforated granular calcification. In some cases, ovicells are asymmetric over the operculum (Description from McCann et al. 2007).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Bryozoa
Class:   Gymnolaemata
Order:   Cheilostomata
Suborder:   Ascophora
Family:   Celleporariidae
Genus:   Celleporaria
Species:   pilaefera


Holoporella pilaefera (Canu and Bassler, 1929)

Potentially Misidentified Species



Life History- Celleporaria pilaefera is an encrusting, calcified bryozoan, composed of many individual zooids. The zooids feed by extending the ciliated tentacles of the lophophore as a funnel, creating a current, and driving food particles into their mouths. The food is guided along the tentacles and through the pharynx by the cilia. Larger food particles can be moved or captured by flicking or contracting the tentacles (Barnes 1983). Larvae of other species of Celleporaria are non-feeding and have a short period of planktonic development (Hall 1982; Santagata 2008). Larvae settle on a substrate and metamorphose into the first zooid of a colony, an ancestrula (Barnes 1983).

Ecology- Celleporaria pilaefera is known from coral reefs, oyster aquaculture cages, fouling plates, and ships' hulls (Agius et al. 1977; Winston 1986; McCann et al. 2007; Williams et al. 2008). In the St. Johns River estuary, Florida, it was collected at a salinity of 30 PSU (McCann et al. 2007), and its known range suggests a preference for marine salinities and a tropical-subtropical climate.


Phytoplankton, detritus

Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder



General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatCoral reefNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm Temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Impacts of introduced populations of Celleporaria pilaefera have not been studied.

Regional Impacts

MED-IVNoneEconomic ImpactFisheries
Fouling aquaculture cages

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
EAS-III None 0 Native Estab
CIO-I None 0 Native Estab
RS-2 None 0 Native Estab
RS-3 None 0 Native Estab
RS-1 None 0 Native Estab
SP-XXI None 1997 Def Estab
EA-V None 0 Native Estab
SP-V None 0 Native Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 2002 Def Estab
MED-IV None 1977 Def Unk
S180 St. Johns River 2002 Def Estab
NZ-IV None 2007 Def Unk
SP-III None 0 Native Estab
AUS-II None 2008 Native Estab
SP-IX None 0 Native Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Native Estab
AUS-II None 0 Native Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
7523 McCann et al. 2007 2002 2002-01-01 Mayport Naval Station Def 30.3796 -81.4286
7525 Harmer 1957, cited by McCann et al. 2007 None 9999-01-01 Red Sea Native 20.0000 38.0000
7526 Hayward 1988, cited by McCann et al. 2007 None 9999-01-01 Mauritius Native -20.2000 57.5000
7527 Karande and Swami 1988 None 9999-01-01 Mumbai (Bombay) Native 18.9750 72.8258
7528 McCann et al. 2007) 1929 1929-01-01 Philippines Native 14.5833 120.9667
7529 Tilbrook 2006 None 9999-01-01 Choiseul Native -7.0800 157.0000
7530 Tilbrook 2006 None 9999-01-01 Nggela (Florida) Islands Native -9.0000 160.1000
7531 Tilbrook 2001, cited by McCann et al. 2007 None 9999-01-01 Port Vila Native -17.7500 168.3000
7533 Bishop Museum 1998 None 9999-01-01 Honolulu Harbor Native 21.3094 -157.8725


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