Story: Marine animals without backbones

Bryozoan limestone (1st of 2)

Bryozoan limestone

Bryozoans, or lace corals, are one of the largest groups of animals in the seas around New Zealand, with nearly 1,000 living species. They were also important in the ancient seas, as indicated by the fossils found in coastal sediments. One of New Zealand’s best-known decorative building materials, Ōamaru stone, is a type of limestone partly made of the compressed skeletons of bryozoans that lived 35 million years ago. The animals’ lacy body-walls are visible in this close-up of Ōamaru stone.

Using this item
Photograph by Peter Batson

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff, 'Marine animals without backbones - Lace corals and lamp shells', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 August 2022)

Story by Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006