Below are examples of bryozoans you might find alive in the rocky intertidal or washed up on the beaches. There aren’t too many—just the big ones for me to easily find and photograph, so it’s not an extensive list. As for identification, I can get close, I hope, with the readily available field guides and online resources (see references at the bottom of the page). I intend to give my photographic take on common bryozoans and add a natural history note if I have something to say that hasn’t already been over-said.

My organization follows Lamb and Hanby (2005). Common names are my choice. I refer to WoRMS for scientific names, and I learn a ton by browsing the natural history riches in Kozloff (1993). All photos are from northern Oregon unless noted in captions.

Let’s explore bryozoans!

Flustrellidra corniculata

If you judged from the images below, you might say it looks like Flustrellidra tends to affiliate with Laminaria sinclairii. I don’t know if there’s much of an association, but they do co-occur fairly commonly on surf-swept shores.


Encrusting bryozoans

In real life, and in this image, there’s a soft look, but far from it, this crust is hard. This one is from a semi protected vertical surface on a large exposed outcrop.

Resting among giant green anemones, this crust is about 6 cm (2.4 in) across


Red blades are common hosts of the bryozoan(s) shown below:

The Cryptopleura/Hymenena crowd are frequent hosts.

Encrusted red blades laid out on Phyllospadix
Older portions of the blades are heavily encrusted

I’m unsure of the host here, but the bryozoan looks similar to the one shown above.

If you can identify this bryozoan or its host, please drop me a line


Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.

Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.

Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.

Sept. J. D. 2009. The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest. Revised ed. Harbour Publishing.

On Line Resources

It’s worth taking a look at iNaturalist’s Leather Bryozoan (Flustrellidra corniculata) page.

Also try:

The Friends of Netarts Bay’s page on bryozoans.

Marney Pratt’s Bryozoans of the Pacific Northwest.

This page was updated January 6, 2022.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s