Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1914
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1914
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

Anguinella palmata was described from Europe in the 19th century and is distributed on both sides of the Atlantic. In the Eastern Atlantic, it is known from southern Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Atlantic coast of France (Hayward 1985), and the coasts of Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in equatorial Africa (Cook 1968). In the Western Atlantic, it ranges from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico (Maturo 1958; Shier 1964; Winston 1977), Puerto Rico (Osburn 1940), and Santos, Brazil (Marcus 1937). The distribution of this bryozoan seems to be most continuous on the Atlantic coast of the United States. The occurrences in Africa, Brazil, and possibly Europe may be cryptogenic. Anguinella palmata has been introduced to the East Pacific (California to Peru) and the Southwest Pacific (Australia and New Zealand). This species has a lecithotrophic larva, which spends only a brief time in the plankton, so hull fouling is the most likely form of transport.

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Anguinella palmata was collected at Balboa, near Newport, California in 1914 (USNMNH 6660, U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2003), and at nearby Seal Beach in 1934 (Gordon 1967, cited by Cohen and Carlton 1995). We are unaware of further southern California records. However, A. palmata was collected in San Francisco Bay in 1993 (Cohen and Carlton 1995) and is now well-established in the South, Central, and San Pablo sections (2004, Cohen et al. 2005; California Academy of Sciences 2005).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

Anguinella palmata has been collected further south in the East Pacific, from Mexico to northern Peru. It was collected in Zorritos, Peru, in the Gulf of Santa Clara in 1933 (Osburn 1947), on Isla Isabela in Panama City, also in 1933 (Osburn 1947), off the coast of Nayarit, Mexico in 1942 (Osburn 1947), and in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico (Alvarez and Banta 1984). This bryozoan is assumed to be introduced in these East Pacific sites. Anguinella palmata has also been introduced to New South Wales, Australia (Allen 1953) and Auckland, New Zealand (Gordon and Mawatari 1992).


Anguinella palmata is an erect, uncalcified bryozoan, growing in branched, tapering, mud-coated tuft-like brown colonies, up to 200 mm in length. The zooids are erect and tubular, 0.75-2.5 mm long, and 0.12-0.29; Veira et al. 2020 mm in diameter, with a terminal aperture and ten tentacles. The basal zooids and the axial zooids of the branches are modified to serve as a stalk for the colony, and are elongated, thickened, and lack feeding structures. Colonies are about 6 mm high (description from Osburn 1944; Maturo 1957; Gordon and Mawatari 1992; Winston and Hayward 2012; Vieira et al. 2014).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Bryozoa
Class:   Gymnolaemata
Order:   Ctenostomata
Suborder:   Carnosa
Superfamily:   Paludicelloidea
Family:   Nolellidae
Genus:   Anguinella
Species:   palmata


Potentially Misidentified Species



Life History- Anguinella palmata is a bush-like, soft-bodied 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. The zooids are hermaphroditic, and produce large yolky eggs, which hatch into lecithotrophic larvae, which are planktonic for short periods (less than 1-2 days). Larvae settle on a substrate and metamorphose into the first zooid of a colony, an ancestrula (Barnes 1983).

Ecology- Anguinella palmata has been found attached to jetties, shells, and pilings (Osburn 1944; Maturo 1958). It is primarily found in marine environments, but has been collected at salinities as low as 13 PSU (Osburn 1944).


Phytoplankton; Detritus

Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder



General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatOyster ReefNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatRockyNone
General HabitatVessel HullNone
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Salinity (‰)13Field data, Gosner 1978
Maximum Height (mm)200Winston and Hayward 2012
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneMesohaline-Euhaline (Osburn 1944; Maturo 1958)

General Impacts

Impacts of Anguinella palmata have not been reported from its native or introduced range.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NEP-VI Pt. Conception to Southern Baja California 1914 Def Estab
NEP-V Northern California to Mid Channel Islands 1993 Def Estab
AUS-X None 1953 Def Estab
NEP-VIII None 1942 Def Estab
WA-IV None 1968 Crypto Estab
WA-II None 1968 Crypto Estab
SEP-I None 1933 Def Estab
SEP-H None 1933 Def Estab
NZ-IV None 1960 Def Estab
NA-ET3 Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras 0 Crypto Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 0 Crypto Estab
CAR-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 0 Crypto Estab
SA-II None 1937 Crypto Estab
NEA-II None 0 Crypto Estab
P090 San Francisco Bay 1993 Def Estab
P040 Newport Bay 1914 Def Unk
P050 San Pedro Bay 1934 Def Estab
P093 _CDA_P093 (San Pablo Bay) 1993 Def Estab
NEA-IV None 0 Crypto Estab
NEP-IV Puget Sound to Northern California 2003 Def Unk
P130 Humboldt Bay 2003 Def Unk
WA-I None 0 Crypto Estab
PAN_PAC Panama Pacific Coast 1933 Def Estab
SA-I None 2016 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
767701 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-07-25 Navy Ammo Dock, Pier Bravo, San Diego Bay, CA, California, USA Def 32.6939 -117.2276
767807 Ruiz et al., 2015 2011 2012-09-20 San Leandro Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.6979 -122.1912
768029 Ruiz et al., 2015 2012 2012-08-27 Port of San Francisco Pier 31, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.8078 -122.4060
768161 Ruiz et al., 2015 2012 2012-09-05 Port of Oakland, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.7987 -122.3228
768222 Ruiz et al., 2015 2012 2012-09-13 San Leandro Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.6962 -122.1919
768426 Ruiz et al., 2015 2013 2013-08-21 San Leandro Marina, San Francisco Bay, CA, California, USA Def 37.6980 -122.1908


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