Invasion History

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

General Invasion History:

Bugula flabellata is native to the Northeast Atlantic, from southern Norway to Morocco, and the Mediterranean (Ryland 1960). It has been introduced to many parts of the world, including California (in 2000), Australia (first recorded in Port Phillip Bay 1899, Keough and Ross 1999), New Zealand (in 1958, Cranfield et al. 1998), India (in 1967, Menon and Nair 1972), Brazil to Argentina (Marcus 1937, Gappa 2000), and Chile (Castilla et al. 2005). This bryozoan has probably been transported around the world in ship hull fouling.

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

In 2000, bryozoans identified as Bugula flabellata were found at Long Beach Marina, Alamitos Bay, California, and at two locations in San Diego Bay, Coronado Cays Marina and Crosby St. Pier (Cohen et al. 2002). However, the SERC Marine Invasions laboratory collected similar bryozoans, and after a careful examination, Linda McCann concluded that they were B. fulva.


Colonies of Bugulina flabellata form dense tufts, 2-3 cm high, which are buff in color when living, but grayish when dried or preserved. Its branches are broad, flat and wedge-shaped, with branches arranged in a somewhat circular pattern. Its zooecia (zooids) are oblong and about equally wide throughout their length, with frontal openings (opesia) which cover nearly all the frontal surface. The outer distal angles of the zooecia at the colony’s margins bear three spines on the outer distal corners, and two on the inner distal corners. The spines vary considerably in size, and those on the outer zooecia may be very large. The inner and marginal colonies bear avicularia, and the marginal avicularia have large hooked beaks. The brood-chambers (ovicells) are sub-globular, with a moderately wide aperture. The polyps have 14 tentacles (Description from: Ryland 1960; NIMPIS 2002; MarLin 2004).

The taxonomy of the Bugulidae has recently been revised. Twent-four species, including B. flabellata, B. fulva, and B. simplex are now in the new genus Bugulina (Fehlauer-Ales et al. 2015).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Bryozoa
Class:   Gymnolaemata
Order:   Cheilostomata
Suborder:   Anasca
Family:   Bugulidae
Genus:   Bugulina
Species:   flabellata


Avicularia flabellata (Thompson, 1847)
Bugula flabellata (Busk, 1852)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Bugula 'fulva/flabellata'
An unidentified bryozoan found on SERC fouling plates in San Diego Bay and Monterey Bay resembled both of these species (deRivera et al. 2005, McCann, personal communication).

Bugula simplex
In early (pre-1960s) literature dealing with the Woods Hole area, Bugula simplex was identified as "B. flabellata" (Ryland and Hayward 1991).




Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder



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

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Bugula flabellata is a common fouling organism in many parts of the world, but specific impacts have not been reported.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
NEA-II None 1847 Native Estab
NEA-III None 1847 Native Estab
B-I None 0 Native Estab
NEA-IV None 0 Native Estab
NEA-V None 0 Native Estab
WA-I None 1960 Native Estab
MED-III None 0 Native Estab
MED-IV None 0 Native Estab
MED-VII None 0 Native Estab
SA-I None 1980 Def Estab
NZ-IV None 1958 Def Estab
NZ-VI None 0 Def Estab
MED-II None 0 Native Estab
SEP-C None 1950 Def Estab
AUS-VIII None 1899 Def Estab
AUS-X None 1946 Def Estab
AUS-VII None 1977 Def Estab
AUS-V None 0 Def Estab
SA-II None 1937 Def Estab
CIO-I None 1967 Def Estab
CIO-II None 1972 Def Estab
SEP-B None 1982 Def Estab
WA-IV None 2001 Def Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Australian Museum Business Services (2002) <missing title>, Australian Museum Business Services, for Sydney Ports Corporation, Sydney. Pp. <missing location>

Castilla, Juan C. and 10 authors (2005) Down under the southeastern Pacific: marine non-indigenous species in Chile., Biological Invasions 7: 213-232

Cohen, A. N. and 11 authors (2005) Rapid assessment survey for exotic organisms in southern California bays and harbors, and abundance in port and non-port areas., Biological Invasions 7: 995-1002

Cranfield, H.J.; Gordon, D.P.; Willan, R.C.; Marshall, B.A; Battershill, C.N.; Francis, M.P.; Nelson, W.A.; Glasby, C.J.; Read, G.B. (1998) <missing title>, The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand. Pp. <missing location>

Fehlauer-Ale, Karin H.; Winston, Judith E.; Tilbrook, Kevin J.; Nascimento, Karine B.; Vieira, Leandro M. (2015) Identifying monophyletic groups within Bugula sensu lato (Bryozoa, Buguloidea), Zoologica Scripta <missing volume>: <missing location>

Florence, Wayne K.; Hayward. Peter J.; Gibbons, Mark J. (2007) Taxonomy of shallow-water Bryozoa from the west coast of South Africa, African Natural History 3: 1-58

Glasby, Tim M.; Connell, Sean D.; Holloway, Michael G.; Chad L. Hewitt (2007) Nonindigenous biota on artificial structures: could habitat creation facilitate biological invasions?, Marine Biology 151: 887-895

Hayward, P.J.; Ryland, J. S. (1998) Cheilostomatous Bryozoa. Part 1: Aeteoidea-Cribilinoidea., Synopses of the British Fauna 10 (2nd edition): 1-366

Hopkins, Grant A.; Forrest, Barrie M.; Jiang, Weimin; Gardner, Jonathan P. A. (2011) Successful eradication of a non-indigenous marine bivalve from a subtidal soft-sediment environment, Journal of Applied Ecology <missing volume>: published online

Inglis, Graeme and 6 authors (2006e) Whangarei Harbour (Whangarei Port and Marsden Point: Baseline survey for non-indigenous species, Biosecurity New Zealand Technical Paper 2005(16): 1-52

Keough, M. J. ; Ross, J. (1999) Introduced fouling species in Port Phillip Bay., In: Hewitt, C. L.; Campbell; M.;Thresher, R.; Martin,(Eds.) Marine Biological Invasions of Port Phillip Bay, Victoria. , Hobart, Tasmania. Pp. 193-225

Lopez Gappa, Juan (2000) Species richness of marine Bryozoa in the continental shelf and slope off Argentina (south-west Atlantic), Diversity and Distributions 6: 15-27

Marcus, Ernst (1937) Bryozoarios Marinhos Brasileiros, Boletim de faculdade de filosofia, Ciencias e Letras, Universidade de sao Paulo, Zoologia 1: 1-224

Menon. N. R.; Nair, N. B. (1972) Indian species of the genus Bugula Oken., Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy 38(5-6): 414-424

Pollard, D.A.; Pethebridge, R.L. (2002) Report on Port of Botany Bay: Introduced marine pest species survey, NSW Fisheries Final Report Series 40: 1-69

Ramalhosa, Patrício; Souto, Javier; Canning-Clode, João (2016) Diversity of Bugulidae (Bryozoa, Cheilostomata) colonizing artificial substratesin the Madeira Archipelago (NE Atlantic Ocean), Helgoland Marine Research <missing volume>: <missing location>

Ryland, J. S. (1960) The British species of Bugula (Polyzoa)., Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 134: 65-105

Ryland, J. S. (1965) <missing title>, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris. Pp. <missing location>

Ryland, J. S. (1971) Bryozoa (Polyzoa) and marine fouling., In: Gareth Jones E.B; Eltringham, S. K.(Eds.) Marine Borers, fungi and fouling organisms of wood. , Paris. Pp. 137-154

Ryland, J.S., Hayward, P.J. (1977) British anascan bryozoans, Cheilostomata: Anasca. Keys and notes for the identification of the species., Synopses of the British Fauna 10: 1-187

Wiltshire, K.; Rowling, K.; Deveney, M. (2010) <missing title>, South Australian Research and Development Institute, Adelaide. Pp. 1-232