Puellina venusta Canu and Bassler, 1925

General description: 

Puellina venusta is an encrusting bryozoan. Colonies form broad, spreading sheets, composed of a single layer of autozooids. Autozooids are oval to irregularly polygonal, rather flat and separated by shallow grooves. They range in size from 0.28-0.49 by 0.17-0.40 mm. Five spines are present in non-reproductive zooids, and four in reproductive zooids  (with an ovicell).

The species is able to colonise stones and shells in offshore waters from approximately 80-300 metres. The most northerly material available (NHMUK 1911.10.1.732) is from deep water (320 m) off Shetland.

Puellina venusta is widespread in the east Atlantic. It has been recorded from Shetland, the English Channel off Brittany, the Bay of Biscay and extends south to South Africa. In the British Isles, it is common of southwest coasts, and is potentially absent from eastern coasts.

The species has frequently been confused with the Mediterranean species Puellina radiata, which does not occur in the British Isles. Puellina venusta is also commonly found as a fossil encrusting shells from the middle Miocene in the Vienna Basin.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith