In bryozoans (phylum Bryozoa), representative colonial animals mostly found in marine environments, some species possess different types of individuals (heterozooids) specialized in different functions such as defense or structural support for their colonies. Among them, the best-known heterozooids are the avicularia, known to function as defenders. The differentiation processes of heterozooids, including avicularia, should be important keys to understand the evolutionary significance of bryozoans. However, the developmental process of avicularium formation remains to be fully understood. In this study, therefore, in order to understand the detailed developmental process and timing of avicularium formation, extensive observations were carried out in a bryozoan species, Bugulina californica (Cheilostomata, Bugulidae), that possesses adventitious avicularia, by performing stereomicroscopy on live materials, in addition to scanning electron microscopy and histological observations. The whole process can be divided into seven stages based on developmental events. Especially notably, at the earlier stages, there are three major budding events that produce proliferating cell masses corresponding to primordial tissues: (1) budding of the peduncle cushion at the outer margin of the distal part of a young autozooid, (2) budding of the head-part primordium from the peduncle cushion, and (3) budding of the polypide inside the head part. Experimental control of temperature showed that 20°C would be the best to maintain B. californica colonies.
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Vol. 38 • No. 3