Cribrilina punctata is an encrusting bryozoan. Colonies form small, irregular patches that are white in colour. The autozooids are small, strongly convex and range in size from 0.4-0.55 by 0.26–0.4 mm. Young autozooids have three to five long slender spines.
The species is able to colonise a range of substrates including algae, stones and shells. It ranges from the very lower shore to offshore subtidal waters as deep as 219 m. In the intertidal zone it is uncommon and seems to be replaced by Cribrilina cryptooecium, except on the northern coasts of Britain.
Cribrilina punctata is distributed from the Barents Sea southwards to the western end of the English Channel. It has been recorded from the Faroes, Shetland, the North Sea, the Irish Sea, west coast of Ireland and in the western English Channel.
Extensive taxonomic confusion has existed between C. punctata, C. cryptooecium and Collarina balzaci, therefore records from further afield that those outlined above must be regarded with caution. Cribrilina punctata is thought not to occur in the Mediterranean.