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P Kamptozoa (Entoprocta)





Overview & Classification




Biogeographic Distribution

Physical Characteristics

External Features

Internal Features

Biology & Behaviour

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Ecology - Associations

The family Loxosomatidae is comprised of the epizoic members of the phylum Entoprocta. The particular organisms found at Heron Island occupied the fenestra of the zooecium* of the colonial bryozoan Iodictyum. Other associations of members of this family include small polychaete worms and sponges.

This type of epizoic association is a commensalism, where the kamptozoan lives on areas the bryozoan lacking zooids* or on the excurrent “chimneys” of the zooids, and uses the current created by the host to assist in capturing food particles free-flowing in the water column. Depending on it’s locality, the current created by the kamptozoan may also assist the bryozoan in feeding, in a mutualistic manner. The organisms being found on excurrent channels shows that the two associates do not compete for food, the kamptozoan presumably feeding on the smaller organisms and organic particles. This association also seems unlikely to protect the kamptozoan from predation, as predators in this habitat eat the bryozoans, and would coincidently eat the entoproct along with it. Finally, the kamptozoan also benefits from this association by exploiting the excurrent channels for increased dispersion of their larvae.

On all the samples collected, there seems to be an exclusion of entoprocts by the bryozoan: entoprocts were found predominantly on areas of the exoskeleton devoid of zooids. Inversely, few entoprocts were found when zooids were abundant. However, no evidence has been found of said exclusion or any detrimental effect of the epizoon* on the host, which would make the kamptozoans parasitic. There has been evidence of host-tissue response in polychaetes.

Kamptozoans were found only on the bryozoan Iodictyum from the North-East site, and not on bryozoans from the North site. The common bryozoans Margaretta triplex and Reteporellina graeffei were also collected from these areas, but no entoproct associations were observed. This shows the evidence of host-specificity, but that host presence alone does not determine entoproct presence, and that other biotic and/or abiotic factors limit the organism’s habitat and ecological niche. Scientific data in this field is yet lacking, and these limiting factors in question can only be stipulated.



Epizoon: an epizoic animal.
Zooecium (= ‘animal house’): the organic or mineral exoskeleton secreted by bryozoans.
Zooid: individual organism of a colony, often with different forms and functions.