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Carbasea ovoidea Busk, 1852

provided by British Antarctic Survey

Description

Mainly transparent but the thin skeleton is white in colour. This species forms thin sheet-like fronds up to 6cm high (almost like onion skin). Curls up if dried out. Although the genus is speciose, only one other species (C. curva) is common in Antarctic waters, and this is dark brown and barely transparent.

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Species details

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Species distribution

5m to deep water, on hard substrates from Magellanic to some Subantarctic islands (Prince Edward, Kerguelen, Heard) to the Scotia Arc, Antarctic Peninsula and Ross Sea.

This species is the shallowest occurring frond-like bryozoan. Unusually it is an annual species, growing new fronds each year from a base. These suspension feeders eat phytoplankton during the summer periods. Disjointed growth of zooids can be seen where it repairs damage to fronds. It is very lightly calcified and one of the faster growing bryozoans. Its main predators are probably nudibranchs, pycnogonans and seastars, though none have ever been seen to eat it.

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