New paper in Journal of Morphology


Morphology of ctenostome bryozoans: 7. Hislopia, Echinella and Timwoodiellina

Schwaha T, Hirose M & Wood TS. 2024.
J. Morphol. 2024;285:e21678.,
Published online 1 February 2024


Ctenostome bryozoans are a small group of gymnolaemates comprising less than 400 recent species. They are paraphyletic and ctenostome-grade ancestors gave rise to Cheilostomata, the most dominant and speciose taxon of Bryozoa in the present day. Investigations into ctenostomes are important for reconstructing character evolution among Gymnolaemata. As a continuation of studies on a morphological series of ctenostome bryozoans, we herein investigate six species of hislopiids, a small clade of three genera occurring in freshwater habitats. The general morphology of all species is similar in having primarily uniserial chains of encrusting zooids, which are mostly oval to ellipsoid and have a flattened frontobasal axis. Hislopia prolixa and Echinella placoides often have more slender zooids with a higher frontobasal axis. Apertures of hislopiids are quadrangular, lined by a thickened cuticle. Apertural spines are present in various lengths in E. placoidesHislopia lacustris and Hislopia corderoi. The remaining cuticle is rather thin except at lateral areas, close to the pore-plates which are prominent in hislopiids because of abundant special and limiting cells. All species except H. corderoi and Timwoodiellina natans have a prominent collar obstructing the vestibulum, whereas the latter two species instead have an ‘external collar’ as cuticular, outer folds projecting over the aperture. Hislopiid lophophores carry eight, or more commonly 12−18 tentacles. The digestive tract is distinguished by an often highly elongated esophagus and/or cardia, with the latter always having a prominent bulbous part in the form of a proventriculus—or gizzard in E. placoides. The caecum is extensive in all species. In Hislopia the intestine is characteristically two-chambered with a proximal and distal part before entering an anal tube of various length. The latter is present in all species except T. natans and terminates in mid-lophophoral area. Oocytes in E. placoides are large and macrolecithal indicating brooding and the production of lecithotrophic larvae. Hislopia species produce small, oligolecithal ones, which suggests zygote spawning and planktotrophy. In general, the morphology is similar among the different hislopiids with characters of the gut aiding in delineating the genera Echinella and Timwoodiellina.