Reproduction and dispersal

Reproduction

Asexual production is the main reproductive mode. There are two forms:

  1. budding to increase colony size
  2. the production of dormant stages (statoblasts)

Statoblasts are retained within colony branches. Statoblast dormancy is broken by environmental cues and new colonies grow in the place of old ones.

Sexual reproduction is rare. Colonies are hermaphroditic and larvae are brooded. Ciliated larvae swim for few hours before settlling to form new colonies.

Dispersal

Branches are easily detached. Reattachment via their sticky tips is likely to result in downstream dispersal.

Statoblasts are likely to be dispersed occasionally by waterfowl (Figuerola et al., 2003).