Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 2002
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record:
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record: 2002

General Invasion History:

Sinoflustra annae was first described from Balboa, Panama, at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal (Osburn 1953). However, the broad environmental tolerance of this species and its frequent occurrence on docks and other man-made structures is strongly suggestive of ship transport and introduction in this region. An Indo-Pacific origin seems most likely (McCann et al. 2007). Its range in this region includes the East and West coasts of India (Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal) (Menon and Nair 1969; Rao and Batiaji 1988; Udhayakumar and Karande 1989; Karande and Udhayakumar 1992; Swami and Karande 1994), the coast of China from Hainan to Zhejiang Province (Huang 2002; Li 1989, cited by McCann et al. 2007), and the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia (Bock 2009). Sinoflustra annae has been introduced to Florida, the Caribbean coast of Panama, Brazil and Africa. Its encrusting morphology, planktotrophic larvae, and tolerance of low salinity are traits which have favored its transport and spread by fouling and ballast water, its passage through the Panama Canal, and its colonization of estuarine habitats (McCann et al. 2007).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

In 2002, Sinoflustra annae was found to be very abundant on fouling plates in the St. Johns River estuary, Jacksonville, Florida (McCann et al. 2007). In Jacksonville, where salinity ranged from 34 to 3 PSU, this species dominated bryozoan communities, together with the introduced Electra bengalensis. Both of these species are tolerant of low salinities. Sinoflustra annae was not found in five other Florida and Gulf estuaries that have been surveyed by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Invasions program (McCann et al. 2007).

Invasion History Elsewhere in the World:

By 1930, Sinoflustra annae was established at Balboa, near the Panama Canal (Hastings 1930, cited by Osburn 1953, Powell 1971, McCann et al. 2007). In 2004, it was abundant on the Caribbean coast of Panama (Ruiz et al., unpublished data), and was found on fouling plates in Paranagua Bay, Brazil (Cangussu 2008). This bryozoan is also established on the west coast of Africa, in Lagos, Nigeria on the Niger Delta, at Cotonu, Benin on the Gulf of Guinea, and at Moanda, Democratic Republic of Congo on the Congo River Delta (Cook 1968). 


Sinoflustra annae forms encrusting colonies. The zooids are rectangular in outline, and about 0.40-0.60 mm in length by 0.20-0.45 mm in width. The frontal area (opesia) is membranous and round to oval. At the distal end of the zooid, the operculum is bordered on each side by a pair of small, subtriangular kenozooids, resembling avicularia, but lacking mandibles, instead being frontally walled by membrane. Laterally and proximally, the membranous opesia is surrounded by a beaded cryptocyst, from the raised inner rim of which small sharp-pointed denticles extend under the membranous surface. There are no ovicells. The zooids may have large vicarious avicularia with rounded mandibles (description from McCann et al. 2007).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Bryozoa
Class:   Gymnolaemata
Order:   Cheilostomata
Suborder:   Anasca
Family:   Flustridae
Genus:   Sinoflustra
Species:   annae


Acanthodesia serrata (Hastings, 1930)
Membranipora annae (Osburn, 1953)
Membranipora hastingsae (Osburn, 1950)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Sinoflustra amoyensis
(Robertson, 1921). This species has been synonymized with S. annae by some authors.



Life History- Sinoflustra annae is an encrusting, calcified bryozoan composed of many individual zooids. The zooids feed by extending the ciliated tentacles of the lophophore as a funnel, creating a current, and driving food particles into their mouths. The food is guided along the tentacles and through the pharynx by the cilia. Larger food particles can be moved or captured by flicking or contracting the tentacles (Barnes 1983). The mode of larval development of S. annae is unknown (McCann et al. 2007), but members of the family Flustridae have brooded, lecithotrophic larvae (Gordon et al. 2006). Larvae settle on a substrate, usually an alga, and metamorphose into the first zooid of a colony, an ancestrula (Dudley 1973; Barnes 1983).

Ecology- Sinoflustra annae is known primarily from pilings, buoys and fouling panels (Menon and Nair 1969; Powell 1971; Ruiz et al. unpublished data). It is often found in water of reduced salinities (Winston 1977; Swami and Karande 1994).



Trophic Status:

Primary Producer



General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatMarinas & DocksNone
General HabitatRockyNone
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Salinity RangePolyhaline18-30 PSU
Salinity RangeEuhaline30-40 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone
Vertical HabitatEpibenthicNone

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Salinity (‰)14Field data- Bombay, India, in monsoon season, still abundant (Swami and Karande 1987, cited by Swami and Karande 1994)
Broad Temperature RangeNoneWarm temperate-Tropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneMesohaline-Euhaline

General Impacts

Sinoflustra annae is abundant in its native region and its invaded range, but specific ecological or economic impacts have not been reported.

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
CIO-I None 1994 Native Estab
CIO-II None 1988 Native Estab
AUS-XIV None 0 Crypto Estab
WA-II None 1968 Def Estab
SEP-H None 1930 Def Estab
CAR-VII Cape Hatteras to Mid-East Florida 2002 Def Estab
WA-IV None 1968 Def Estab
NWP-2 None 0 Native Estab
NWP-3a None 1921 Native Estab
S180 St. Johns River 2002 Def Estab
CAR-III None 2004 Def Estab
SA-II None 1937 Def Estab
NZ-IV None 0 Def Unk
PAN_PAC Panama Pacific Coast 1930 Def Estab
PAN_CAR Panama Caribbean Coast 2004 Def Estab
SA-III None 1994 Def Estab
EAS-VI None 0 Native Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude
7574 McCann et al. 2007 2002 2002-01-01 Jacksonville Def 30.3322 -81.6557
7575 Ruiz et al., unpublished data 2004 2004-01-01 near Panama Canal entrance Def 9.3333 -79.0000
7576 Marcus 1937; Vieira et al. 2008 1937 1937-01-01 Sao Paulo state Def -23.9371 -46.3253
7577 Cook 1968 1968 1968-01-01 Lagos Def 6.4531 3.3958
7578 Cook 1968 1968 1968-01-01 Cotonou Def 6.3667 2.4333
7579 Cook 1968 1968 9999-01-01 Moanda Def -5.9333 12.3500
7580 (Udhayakumar and Karande 1989 None 9999-01-01 Mumbai (Bombay) Native 18.9750 72.8258
7581 Swami and Karande 1994 None 9999-01-01 Karwar Native 14.8000 74.1300
7582 Satyanarayana and Batiaji None 9999-01-01 Port Kakinada Native 16.9300 82.3300
7583 Tarakanadha et al. 2004 None 9999-01-01 Krishnapatnam Harbor Native 14.2830 80.1170
7584 Li 1989, cited by McCann et al. 2007 None 9999-01-01 Hainan Native 20.0000 111.0000
7585 Li 1989, cited by McCann et al. 2007 None 9999-01-01 Daya Bay Native 22.5953 114.5431
7586 Li 1989, cited by McCann et al. 2007 None 9999-01-01 Zhejiang Province Native 29.0000 121.0000
7587 Bock 2003 None 9999-01-01 Gulf of Carpentaria Crypto -16.0000 138.0000
7588 Hastings 1930, cited by Osburn 1953 1930 1930-01-01 Balboa Def 895.0000 -79.5667
7589 Hastings 1930, cited by Osburn 1953 1930 1930-01-01 Balboa Def 8.9500 -79.5660
7590 Powell 1971 1971 1971-01-01 Perlas Island Def 8.3333 -79.1167


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