Orange peel bryozoa is a colony (known as a zoarium) of individual aquatic invertebrates known as zooids.  Zooids are not fully independent animals, but work together, each having specialist jobs within the colony to help it thrive, for example; individual autozooids are responsible for feeding and excretion. 

Orange peel bryozoa are filter feeders that sieve food particles from the water.  Each zooid has 16-17 retractable tentacles to capture food by entangling it amongst the many fine hairs (cilia) found on the tentacles.

Its name comes from the colour of the individual zooids, but the colour is exaggerated when the colony has reproduced and has embryos present around the coastal waters of Britain, typically in July.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, Orange peel bryozoa are found only at two sites; The Swansea Bay area and the Isles of Scilly.  They are typically found at depths ranging between 50 and 87 metres, but in the Isles of Scilly they can be found just below the low water mark, amongst the rocky shoreline.

If you would like to have the opportunity to see this and our other special marine life be sure to join us for one of our Rockpooling Activities, held throughout the summer months!