Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 2001
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 2001

General Invasion History:

The encrusting bryozoan Hippoporina indica was described from Bombay, India, on the Arabian Sea, by Madhavan Pillai (1978). An apparently identical bryozoan was described from Hong Kong, China as Cosciniopsis hongkongensis by Liu and Li in 1987, and had been present there at least as early as the 1960s (Liu and Li 1987). In fouling-plate surveys conducted by the Marine Invasions Laboratory of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in 2001-2008, H. indica was found in East and Gulf Coast ports of the US from Virginia to Texas, in Belize and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea, and on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Panama, near the Panama Canal (McCann et al. 2007, Ruiz et al., unpublished data).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

Hippoporina indica was first found on the East Coast in the summer of 2001, on fouling plates in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, and near Jacksonville, Florida (McCann et al. 2007, Ruiz et al., unpublished data). The Virginia records consisted of one specimen each at three sites in Norfolk (Nauticus and Willoughby Bay) and Virginia Beach (Lynnhaven Bay), but this bryozoan was well-established at sites further south. It was found in 2004 at most or all sites with plates in Charleston, and in 2005 it was found at seven sites near Fort Pierce, Florida, in the Indian River Lagoon. In the St. Johns River estuary, where salinity was variable, H. indica was limited to high salinity sites (in 2001, McCann et al. 2007).

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

In 2002 and 2004, Hippoporina indica was found in SERC fouling plates in Tampa Bay, Florida, and in 2002 at Pensacola Bay, Florida, Galveston Bay, Texas, and Corpus Christi, Texas (McCann et al. 2007).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

In later SERC sampling, Hippoporina indica was found in Belize in 2005, and in marine waters at the Caribbean and Pacific ends of the Panama Canal (2004 and 2008, respectively) (Ruiz et al., unpublished data).


Hippoporina indica forms encrusting colonies. The zooids are short, rectangular, and variable in size (mean zooid length = 0.37 mm, mean zooid width = 0.27 mm, N=65; McCann et al. 2007). The frontal surfaces of the zooids have large marginal and frontal pores except for a granular unperforated central portion of frontal wall adjacent to the orifice. Up to three spines occur above the orifice; they are usually lost early in colony development, but the spine bases sometimes remain visible. The orifice is large relative to the zooid size. It is hoof-shaped, with a sub-circular anterior region and a shallowly convex proximal region. The two regions are separated by triangular, proximally slanting, hinging denticles. The granular calcification below the orifice is raised into a low peristome with a central peak. The orifice sometimes has two lateral processes on the rim. On one or both sides of the orifice, there are large umbos supporting avicularia (some zooids may have up to three avicularia, many zooids have none). These are rounded proximally, with narrow crossbars and short, pointed, triangular mandibles, and oriented laterally or disto-laterally toward the orifice. Similar triangular avicularia may also occur on lateral margins or frontal surfaces of the zooids. The ovicell is hyperstomial (partially embedded in the distal zooid, but with an opening above the mother cell), with granular calcification and irregular pores (in size, shape, and spacing) covering most of its frontal surface (Description from McCann et al. 2007).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Bryozoa
Class:   Gymnolaemata
Order:   Cheilostomata
Suborder:   Ascophora
Family:   Hippoporinidae
Genus:   Hippoporina
Species:   indica


Cosciniopsis hongkongensis (Liu and Li, 1987)
Hippothyris hongkongensis (Liu et al., 2001)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Hippoporina americana
Hippoporina americana Verrill USNM #648039 from the Gulf of Mexico, may or may not be the same species, but is probably not H. americana (McCann et al. 2007)



Life History- Hippoporina indica is an encrusting, calcified bryozoan colony 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). Hippoporina indica belongs to a taxonomic group which has lecithotrophic larvae with a short planktonic period (less than 1 day, Hayward and Ryland 1998). Larvae settle on a substrate and metamorphose into the first zooid of a colony, an ancestrula (Hayward and Ryland 1998).

Ecology- In addition to PVC fouling plates, H. indica has been recorded from fishing rafts, fish cages, buoys, oysters, and barnacle shells in China (Lui and Li 1987, cited by McCann et al. 2007). It seems to be confined to waters of marine salinity (McCann et al. 2007).


Octocoral Stragulum bicolor

Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder



General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatVessel HullNone
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Maximum Temperature (ºC)29.6Field, US East & West Coast marinas (Lord et al. 2015)
Age to Maturity0.122-25 days after settlement (Pillai and Madhavan1978)
Minimum Length (mm)11Colonies become reproductive at sizes between 11 and 20 mm. Maximum adult size- 100% of colonies exceeding 50 mm diameter are reproductive, but the maximum size of colonies was not given (Karande and Udhayakumar 1992).
Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Economic Impacts

Shipping, fisheries- Hippoporina indica has been reported as a dominant fouling bryozoan in many areas of Hong Kong, found on fouling panels, ships, buoys, and in aquaculture facilities (Li, 1989).

Ecological Impacts

Competition- In India, its native range, Hippoporina indica grew more slowly than Arbopercula bengalensis, and Sinoflustra annae, two other bryozoans which have also been introduced to Southeast and Gulf Coast estuaries. Hippopornia indica persisted, however, owing to its greater longevity and ability to overgrow other species (Karande and Udhayakumar 1992).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
CIO-I None 1968 Native Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Native Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 2002 Def Estab
G310 Corpus Christi Bay 2002 Def Estab
G260 Galveston Bay 2002 Def Estab
G070 Tampa Bay 2002 Def Estab
S190 Indian River 2005 Def Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 2001 Def Estab
S180 St. Johns River 2001 Def Estab
S080 Charleston Harbor 2004 Def Estab
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 2001 Def Estab
M130 Chesapeake Bay 2001 Def Estab
NWP-3a None 0 Native Estab
G130 Pensacola Bay 2002 Def Estab
SEP-H None 2008 Def Estab
CAR-II None 2005 Def Estab
CAR-III None 2004 Def Estab
AUS-XII None 2010 Def Estab
NZ-IV None 2005 Def Unk
PAN_PAC Panama Pacific Coast 2008 Def Estab
PAN_CAR Panama Caribbean Coast 2004 Def Estab
SA-III None 2010 Def Estab
EAS-VI None 0 Crypto Estab
SA-II None 2011 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
6123 Pillai 1978 1968 1968-01-01 Mumbai (Bombay) Native 18.9750 72.8258
6124 Srinivas et al. 1992 1991 1991-01-01 Srinivas et al. Native 16.5500 72.5000
6125 Liu and Li 1987 1960 1960-01-01 Hong Kong Native 22.2500 114.1833
6126 Liu and Li 1987 1987 1987-01-01 Xiamen, Native 24.4675 118.0931
6127 Liu and Li 1987 1987 1987-01-01 None Native 22.9624 113.4874
6128 Liu and Li 1987 1987 1987-01-01 Hainan Island Native 18.9394 109.4842
6129 Raveendran and Wagh 1993 1993 1993-01-01 None Native 15.4000 73.8000
8192 Tilbrook 2012 2010 2010-03-01 Brisbane Def -27.4556 153.1900
8193 Tillborook 2012) 2011 2011-06-01 Townsville Motor Boat and Yacht Club marina Def -19.2586 146.8225


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