BIOTIC Species Information for Neocrania anomala
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameNeocrania anomala Common nameA brachiopod
MCS CodeX7 Recent SynonymsCrania anomala

PhylumBrachiopoda Subphylum
Superclass ClassInarticulata
Subclass OrderAcrotretida
Suborder FamilyCraniidae
GenusNovocrania Speciesanomala

Additional InformationUnusually for the inarticulate brachiopods, the shell contains calcium carbonate. In brachiopods the valves of the shell are dorso-ventral, whereas in bivlave molluscs the valves are lateral.
Taxonomy References Brunton & Curry, 1979, Howson & Picton, 1997, James et al., 1992, Rowell, 1960,
General Biology
Growth formBivalved
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Active suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesSeston HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeSmall(1-2cm)
HeightNot researched Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potentialNot researched DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationThe lophophore forms the main feeding organ. Mucus is not used in particle capture, only for transport. Neocrania anomala exhibits some degree of particle selectivity. There is a complex mechanism for particle rejection. There is little information on growth rate except that it is believed to be represented by an exponentially declining curve but dependent on depth, food, population density etc. Growth after the first year is slow. Four or five year classes can be identified. Neocrania anomala is capable of recovery from considerable damage to the shell and soft tissue. The adults can be maintained quite well in aquaria and are generally hardy organisms.
Biology References Brunton & Curry, 1979, James et al., 1992, Atkins & Rudwick, 1962, Harper, 1991,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFrom the Firth of Clyde up the west coast of Scotland including the Hebrides, Shetland, the south coast of England and the Isle of Man. In Ireland along the south coast, the north-west and the north-east.
Global distributionFrom the Canary Isles, the Britain Isles, the Faeroe Isles, Norway, Iceland and Spitzbergen.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationAbsent from the Irish Sea and from the east coast of Britain.

Substratum preferencesOther species (see additional information)
Large to very large boulders
Small boulders
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Offshore seabed
Biological zoneLower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Wave exposureModerately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Ultra Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowModerately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional InformationCan often be found living on Modiolus sp. or empty scallop shells.
Distribution References Brunton & Curry, 1979, James et al., 1992, Atkins & Rudwick, 1962, Harper, 1991, Rowell, 1960,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismLecithotrophic
Reproductive SeasonApril to November Reproductive LocationWater column
Reproductive frequencyAnnual protracted Regeneration potential No
Life span6-10 years Age at reproductive maturity
Generation timeInsufficient information Fecundity
Egg/propagule size122.5 µm diameter Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential100-1000m Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage2-10 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationLongevity is suspected to be between 8-10 years. There is no obvious sexual dimorphism although the colour of the gonads may be distinguishing. Testes are light coloured white, pink, cream or blue and ovaries are orange-brown. Egg diameter is 120-125 microns. The species is free-spawning and fertilization is external in the surrounding water column. The eggs are more dense than seawater hatching into a free-swimming larval stage. The larvae are fully developed within three days and settle out in no more than a few days. Most of the literature suggests that dispersal ability is not great. Although the species may inhabit areas with water flow rates of up to 3 knots, the often restricted and sheltered habitat such as sea lochs may reduce dispersal ability. The breeding season in western Scotland has been inferred from the presence of recently settled juveniles. The larva may be able to delay settlement if the initial substratum is unsuitable or the water is too deep.
Reproduction References James et al., 1992, Rowell, 1960, Long & Stricker, 1991,
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