Boring bryozoans: an investigation into the endolithic bryozoan family Penetrantiidae

Sebastian H. Decker, Masato Hirose, Sarah Lemer, Piotr Kuklinski, Hamish G. Spencer, Abigail M. Smith, Thomas Schwaha

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


An endolithic lifestyle in mineralized substrates has evolved multiple times in various phyla including Bryozoa. The family Penetrantiidae includes one genus with ten extant and two fossil species. They predominantly colonize the shells of molluscs and establish colonies by chemical dissolution of calcium carbonate. Based on several morphological characters, they were described to be either cheilostome or ctenostome bryozoans. For more than 40 years, neither the characters of species identity and systematics nor the problem of their phylogeny was approached. Consequently, the aim of this study is to reevaluate species identities and the systematic position of the genus Penetrantia by analyzing at least six different species from eight regions with the aid of modern methods such as confocal laser scanning microscopy and 3D-reconstruction techniques. This study demonstrates that the musculature associated with the operculum and brood chamber shows significant differences from the cheilostome counterparts and seems to have evolved independently. Together with the presence of other ctenostome-like features such as true polymorphic stolons and uncalcified body wall, this finding supports a ctenostome affinity. Operculum morphology reveals many new species-specific characters, which, together with information about gonozooid morphology, tentacle number, and zooid size ranges, will enhance species identification. It also revealed a probable new species in Japan as well as potential cryptic species in France and New Zealand. In addition, this study increases the known distribution range of the family and its substrate diversity. Altogether, the new information collated here provides the basis for future work on a neglected taxon.

Seiten (von - bis)743-785
FachzeitschriftOrganisms Diversity and Evolution
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 24 Mai 2023

ÖFOS 2012

  • 106010 Entwicklungsbiologie


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