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Pentapora foliacea, commonly known as “Potato Crisp Bryozoan” or “Ross Coral” is the largest bryozoan inhabiting British waters. Colonies attach to the substrate via an extensive encrusting base and develop folded three-dimensional branching plates. Plates are composed of two layers of autozooids arranged back-to-back. Colonies are deep orange in colour when alive, fading to a pale buff after death. The species is found in the north-eastern Atlantic.

There is continuing disagreement about whether Pentapora foliacea and Pentapora fascialis are separate species, with the majority of the more recent work, up until Lombardi et al (2010), tending to regard P. foliacea as a junior synonym of P. fascialis. Lombardi et al (2010) again split the two species pending the results of molecular analysis, which is currently being undertaken


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© Sally Rouse

Source: Bryozoa of the British Isles

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