provided by British Antarctic Survey
Grey/ brown to white in colour. The zooids of this species are typically diamond in shape (hence its name), though the colonies, like all encrusters, have no definite shape. The apertures (from which the tentacles emerge) of each zooid have a shiny yellow/orange appearance.
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5m to deep water, common in shallows, particularly on boulders undersurfaces. The species occurs in Patagonia and throughout west Antarctica, but is unknown from East Antarctica. One other Antarctic species, M. brevissima, overlaps in distribution but is also found in the Ross Sea. There are a number of Subantarctic species.
The species is a major space occupier in the shallows, particularly on boulder undersurfaces. It is a mid-ranked space competitor and rarely occurs as an epibiont on animals shells. A large (>1 yr old) colony was found on a piece of drift plastic at 68°S. It is a suspension feeder, eating phytoplankton during spring and summer months. It is probably grazed by limpets and echinoids.
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