Species Description: Colonies of B. klugei are vine-like or semi-erect. Individual zooids are boat-shaped and lightly calcified, measuring approximately 0.73 X 0.30 mm in size. The proximal end of each zooid has a narrow tube by which the zooid was budded from the individual proximal to it. At the distal end, 2 minute projections lie above the operculum.
Potentially Misidentified Species: B. klugei is differentiated from B. intermedia by smaller zooids, distal and lateral spines, larger avicularia, and lateral tubules at the mid-zooid level (Cook 1968; Winston 1978; Winston and Eiseman 1980). However, Winston (1982) has reported that her examination of specimens from the above studies shows that IRL specimens of B. intermedia are referable to B. klugei.
Regional Occurrence: B. klugei is probably widely distributed in warm tropical and subtropical waters. In the western Atlantic, it is distributed from Cape Hatteras through Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean.
IRL Distribution: B. klugei is common in the Indian River Lagoon and at coastal stations. It has most often been collected at Sebastian and Ft. Pierce Inlets, the grass flats around Sebastian Inlet, Capron Shoals, and at other sites.
Age, Size, Lifespan: Individual zooids measure approximately 0.73 X 0.30 mm in size. The lophophore measures approximately 0.657 mm in diameter and bears 26 tentacles.
Abundance: B. klugei is common in the Indian River Lagoon and along the Florida coast. It occurs year-round, but is most abundant in the winter and spring months.
Reproduction: No ovicells are present in B. klugei.
Temperature: Though this species occurs year-round in the IRL, it is likely affected by extreme cold events. Winston reported degenerating colonies of B. klugei in January at Sebastian Inlet following a winter cold event in which water temperatures fell below 15°C
Winston (1982) also noted that in many colonies of B. klugei collected from late-August through December, paired avicularia were apparently lacking.
Salinity: B. klugei is a euryhaline species that is typically collected in areas where salinity is below 30‰.
Trophic Mode: B. klugei, like all bryozoans, is a suspension feeder. Each individual zooid in a colony has 26 ciliated tentacles that are extended to filter phytoplankton less than 0.045 mm in size (about 1/1800 of an inch) from the water column. Bullivant (1967; 1968) showed that the average individual zooid in a colony can clear 8.8 ml of water per day.
Habitats: Typical habitat for ectoprocts in the Indian River Lagoon include seagrasses, drift algae, oyster reef, dock, pilings, breakwaters, and man-made debris (Winston 1995). B. klugei is found primarily on hydroid roots and algae. Coastally, it was found to be an important member of the Thyroscyphus hydrozoan community at Ft. Pierce Breakwater, or entangled in hydroids and algae at other coastal sites. B. klugei has also been collected from the drift algae Soliera tenera, a red algae common in Indian river Lagoon seagrass beds.
Associated Species: Seagrasses as well as floating macroalgae, provide support for bryozoan colonies. In turn, bryozoans provide habitat for many species of juvenile fishes and their invertebrate prey such as polychaete worms, amphipods and copepods. (Winston 1995).
Bryozoans are also found in association with other species that act as support structures: mangrove roots, oyster beds, mussels, etc.
Special Status: None.
Benefit in IRL: Bryozoans are ecologically important in the Indian River Lagoon due to their feeding method. As suspension feeders, they act as living filters in the marine environment. For example, Winston (1995) reported that bryozoan colonies located in 1 square meter of seagrass bed could potentially filter and recirculate an average of 48,000 gallons of seawater per day.
Economic Importance: None.
Cook PL. 1968. Observations on living Bryozoa. Atti Soc Ital Sci Nat Mus Civ Stor Nat Milano 108: 155-160.
Winston JE. 1978. Polypide morphology and feeding behavior in marine ectoprocts. Bull Mar Sci 28: 1-31.
Winston JE. 1982. Marine bryozoans (Ectoprocta) of the Indian River area (Florida). Bull Amer Mus Nat Hist 173: 99-176.
Winston JE, Eiseman NJ. 1980. Bryozoan-algal associations in coastal and continental shelf waters of eastern Florida. Fla Sci 43: 65-74.