Food of Okenia evelinae

February 5, 2004
From: Bill Rudman

PHOTO: Lake Worth Lagoon, Southeast coast of Florida, USA. Depth: 15 feet, 1 February 2004. Photo: Linda Ianniello.

This is just a cross-reference to my comments on Linda Ianniello's message on Polycera hummi, in which she mentions, and includes a photo of the bryozoan on which she found both Polycera hummi and Okenia evelinae.

I am not an expert on bryozoans but I am pretty sure this is Amathia distans Busk, 1886, which has a circumtropical distribution and is a common in the western Atlantic. It is found from North Carolina to Brazil. The way the zooids are arrange in slightly curved double rows is typical of the species. There is an illustration on the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce website at

You may remember in my discussion of Okenia evelinae that I noted that Marcus reported it feeding on Amathia convoluta. My understanding is that true A. convoluta is a South Pacific species, so it is quite possible that Marcus's record is a misidentification for Amathia distans. Your bryozoan is quite different from Zoobotryon which has almost transparent stalks and irregularly arranged zooids. The presence of a specimen of Okenia evelinae on this bryozoan, adds further weight to my suggestion that it is not a synonym of Okenia zoobotryon which has only been reported from the bryozoan Zoobotryon.

Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Feb 5) Food of Okenia evelinae. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Okenia evelinae

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