Epizoan Communities on Marine Turtles.
Marine turtles commonly carry diverse and numerous forms of epizoa, but Bryozoa are rare. Only two previously published records could be found, and a wide-ranging survey of five species of turtles in all oceans produced only eight additional cases. All of the eight bryozoan species identified are typical of intertidal and subtidal inshore marine habitats. Remarkably, although a variety of epipelagic forms have been found on sea snakes and nautilus, none have been documented from marine turtles. On the whole, it appears that Bryozoa are not able to colonize these reptiles. As with other marine turtle epizoa, in general Carella carella seems to provide the most suitable substrate for colonization—no records of Bryozoa are known from either Derrnochelys coriacea or Eretrnochelys imbricata. Surface characteristics of the shell, as well as behavioral and ecological habits of the hosts, are likely to relate to the presence of these epizoa, but it is not known how. In addition to more detailed ecological studies of epizoic associations, the taxonomy and eco-morphological variation of Bryozoa need further attention.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 1992
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