Aeteidae Smitt, 1867

General description: 

Bryozoans in this family have tubular zooids, with a decumbent proximal portion and a free, erect distal portion. The adherent parts contribute to stolonic formations, which may be filiform throughout or moniliform, i.e. with slender sections separating dilatations, representing the sum of the proximal ends of the autozooids. The stolon ramifies, with the branches arising from the dilatations; it is mainly adherent, but may in places become entirely free from the substratum.

The autozooid comprises basal dilatations, middle cylindrical stem and distal region in which basal and frontal surfaces can be distinguished. The frontal membrane is differentiated terminally as a typical anascan operculum.

There are no avicularia or vibracula. The polypide occupies all parts of the cystid, may be retraced into the basal portion without folding the alimentary canal, and bears about 12 tentacles. The everted tentacle sheath is surrounded by a circlet of small slender teeth, possibly corresponding to the collar of the Ctenostomata. Embryos are brooded in delicate and evanescent ovisacs, not in ovicells. The ovisacs may be proximal to the operculum and frontal, or distal to the operculum, basal and subterminal. The ancestrula resembles an ordinary zooid, but has fewer tentacles.
(Hayward and Ryland, 1998)

Taxonomic name: