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Any of various small aquatic invertebrate animals of the phylum Bryozoa that are capable of forming vast mosslike or branching colonies attached to seaweed or hard surfaces. Bryozoans reproduce by budding and feed on minute particles of plankton that they capture with tentacles. They are probably related to the phoronids and are the only animal phylum that does not appear in the fossil record until the early Ordovician Period.