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:

Caulibugula dendrograpta is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world's oceans. It was described by Waters in 1914 off Zanzibar, and later found in Indonesia, Australia, North Carolina, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and the South China Sea (Osburn 1940; Maturo 1966; Fransen 1986; Vieira et al. 2008). It is considered a definite introduction in Hawaii (Zabin 1999). This bryozoan has not been reported from the Eastern Pacific, except for the recent records from the Galapagos Islands. 

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

Invasion history elsewhere in the world is not summarized for this species at this time.


Colonies of Caulibugula dendrograpta form bushy tufts. The colonies grow as stalks of elongate, cylindrical zooids. Bushy branches arise just below the joints between zooids.  Stalk segments are up to 2 mm long.  The proximal end can bear radicles, while the distal end can bear fan-like branches. The branch zooids are biserial and alternate, and curve outwardly. The first zooid of a branch has 6–8 spines about its border and has no avicularium. The other zooids on the branch bear 1 to 4 spines. Avicularia are small and are near the proximal end of the zooid on proximal zooids but become increasingly distal on the outward zooids. Ovicells are globular and attached to the distal corner (Osburn 1940; Maturo 1966). 
Galapagos specimens differ from typical C. dendrograpta in several ways. The proximal zooid has 1–3 spines on each side, whereas typical C. dendrograpta has 5 spines on one side and 3 on the other. Zooids face outward in the fan cup, and avicularia are located at the proximal end of the zooid, whereas they migrate towards the distal end of the zooid in the typical form. Zooids are shorter, and the avicularia are longer in the Galapagos specimens than in the specimens described by Maturo (1966) (McCann et al. 2019). These variations could represent genetic variation within the C. dendrograpta, or a cryptic species. 


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Bryozoa
Class:   Gymnolaemata
Order:   Cheilostomata
Suborder:   Anasca
Family:   Bugulidae
Genus:   Caulibugula
Species:   cf. dendrograpta


Bugula armata: (Osburn, 1914)
Caulibugula armata (Marcus, 1938)
Stirparia dendrograpta (Waters, 1913)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Caulibugula armata
The identity of this species is unclear- it may be synonym of C. dendrograpta (Maturo 1966).

Caulibugula pearsei

Native to the subtropical-tropical northwest Atlantic.



The bryozoan Caulibugula dendrograpta reproduces asexually through fission of colonies, and sexually through the production of eggs and sperm. Larvae have not been described but probably are lecithotrophic. After a brief time in the plankton the larva settles to become the first zooid of colony, the ancestrula (Barnes 1983).

Caulibugula dendrograpta is widespread in tropical and subtropical marine waters. Like other bryozoans, the animals feed on suspended particles, mostly phytoplankton. It is known from coral reefs, rocky reefs, mangroves, sponges, and marinas and docks (Fransen 1986; Zabin 1999; McCann et al. 2019).


Phytoplankton, detritus

Trophic Status:

Suspension Feeder



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

Life History

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNonePolyhaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Impacts are unknown.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 0 Crypto Estab
CAR-I Northern Yucatan, Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, to Middle Eastern Florida 0 Crypto Estab
SP-XXI None 1997 Def Estab
CAR-III None 0 Crypto Estab
AUS-XII None 0 Crypto Estab
AUS-XIII None 0 Crypto Estab
EA-III None 0 Crypto Estab
EAS-III None 0 Crypto Estab
SA-III None 2007 Crypto Estab
SA-II None 1938 Crypto Estab
PAN_CAR Panama Caribbean Coast 0 Crypto Estab
SEP-Z None 2016 Def Estab
AUS-VIII None 0 Crypto Estab
WA-II None 0 Crypto Estab
WA-III None 0 Crypto Estab
EAS-II None 0 Crypto Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Crypto Estab
RS-2 None 0 Crypto Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Aviz, Daiane; Da Silva, Roseanne Figueira; Filho, José Souto (2018) Sabellaria wilsoni (Polychaeta: Sabellariidae): an ecosystem engineer and promoter of zoobenthos diversity in the Brazilian Amazon coast, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 99(5): 1099-1109

Barnes, Robert D. (1983) Invertebrate Zoology, Saunders, Philadelphia. Pp. 883

Carlton, James T.; Eldredge, Lucius (2009) Marine bioinvasions of Hawaii: The introduced and cryptogenic marine and estuarine animals and plants of the Hawaiian archipelago., Bishop Museum Bulletin in Cultural and Environmental Studies 4: 1-202

Carlton, James T.; Keith, Inti; Ruiz, Gregory M. (2019) Assessing marine bioinvasions in the Galápagos Islands: implications for conservation biology and marine protected areas, Aquatic Invasions 14(1): 1-20

Coles S. L., DeFelice R. C., Eldredge, L. G. (1999a) Nonindigenous marine species introductions in the harbors of the south and west shores of Oahu, Hawaii., Bishop Museum Technical Report 15: 1-212

Coles, S. L.; DeFelice, R. C. : Eldredge, L. G. (2002a) Nonindigenous marine species in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawai`i, Bishop Museum Technical Report 24: 1-364

Coles, S. L.; DeFelice, R. C.; Minton, D. (2001) Marine species survey of Johnston Atoll, Central Pacific Ocean, June 2000, Bishop Museum Technical Report 19: 1-59

Cubit, John; Williams, Suelynn (1983) The invertebrates of Galeta Reef (Caribbean Panama): A species list and bibliography, Atoll Research Bulletin 269: 1-45

Fransen, C. H. J. M. (1986) Caribbean Bryozoa:, Anasca And Ascophora Imperfecta of the inner bays of Curaçao And Bonaire, Studies of the Fauna of Curacao and other Caribbean Islands 210: 1-119

Lira, Simone Maria de Albuquerque ; Farrapeira, Cristiane Maria Rocha (2010) Sessile and sedentary macrofauna from the Pirapama Shipwreck, Pernambuco, Brazil, Biota Neotropica 10(4): published online

Maturo, Frank J. S. (1966) Bryozoa of the southeast coast of the United States: Bugulidae and Beaniidae (Cheilostomata: Anasca), Bulletin of Marine Science of the Gulf and Caribbean 16(3): 556-583

McCann, Linda D.;; McCuller, Megan I., Carlton, James T.[ ,Keith, Inti; Geller, Jonathan B.; Ruiz, Gregory M. (2019) Bryozoa (Cheilostomata, Ctenostomata, and Cyclostomata) in Galapagos Island fouling communities, Aquatic Invasions 14: 85-131

Osburn, Raymond C. (1940) Bryozoa of Porto Rico, N. Y. Academy of Sciences - Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands 16(3): 321-486

Ostrovsky, A. N.; Cáceres-Chamizo, J. P.; Vávra; N. ; Berning, B. (2011) Bryozoa of the Red Sea: history and current state of research, Annales of bryozoology 3: 67-89

U.S. National Museum of Natural History 2002-2021 Invertebrate Zoology Collections Database.

Vieira, Leandro M.; Migotto, Alvaro E.; Winston, Judith E. (2008) Synopsis and annotated checklist of Recent marine Bryozoa from Brazil, Zootaxa 1810: 1-39

Zabin, Chela J. (1999) New records of introduced fouling Bryozoa from O'ahu, Hawaii., Bishop Museum, Occasional Papers 59: 46-47