Microporella ciliata is an encrusting bryozoan that forms white colonies which appear silvery or glassy when dried. Colonies are often extensive and may be coloured by fouling algae. Autozooids are oval to hexagonal and convex. They are 0.51-0.82 mm by 0.26-0.51 mm.
Previously, Microporella ciliata was regarded as a cosmopolitan species with records from Antarctica, the Pacific and Indian Oceans, South and North Atlantic, the Red Sea and the Arctic. Recent work has established that the species had been confused with other Microporella species and that M. ciliata may potentially be endemic to the Mediterranean.
The species is able to colonise stones, shells and algae in shallow coastal waters. It is a characteristic species on Laminaria holdfasts and often abundant on kelp in association with other bryozoan species such as Celleporella hyalina, Callopora lineata and Scrupocellaria sp.