Nick Upton's picture

Rubbery sea squirts

Observed: 21st August 2012 By: Nick UptonNick Upton’s reputation in InvertebratesNick Upton’s reputation in InvertebratesNick Upton’s reputation in InvertebratesNick Upton’s reputation in Invertebrates
Sea squirts (Ascidiella scabra)
Description:

Small group of tough, rubbery to the touch sea squirts attached to a boulder in a rockpool, slightly wrinkled but no rough protuberances as in A. aspersa. c 4cm long, one siphon at the end, one a quarter of the way down the body, semi translucent with brown/orange tinge. All these features match A. scabra best of the species I can compare online.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

nightfly's picture

Nick I saw something quite

Nick I saw something quite like this recently, it must be a sea squirt because when I pressed it water squirted out of it in a very fine jet. I know nothing of their species I'm afraid.

http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/299802

Cathal.

Nick Upton's picture

squirty relatives

Sounds like a seaquirt! They often do that, especially Ciona intestinalis which can be several inches long. Seaquirts tend to live very low on the shore on very shaded overhanging rocks or under large boulders or subtidally, so very low spring tides are the best chance to find them but many retract into shapeless blobs, or squirt and retract when touched. The prettiest to me are Star ascidians: Botryllus schlosseri colonial seaquirts which come in a range of wacky colours and spread their flower like patterns in gelatinous sheets across rocks, and the tiny, delicate clusters of Light bulb seasquirts Clavelina lepadiformis are very pretty too. Seasquirt larvae are intriguing - little tadpole like slivers, quite similar to lancelets - with a stiffening notochord, which explains why sea squirts or tunicates - are classified as chordates, as we are... They evolved way back in the ancient Cambrian seas over 500 million years ago and so have ancient links with us vertebrates, and are believed to share a common chordate ancestor. We even share 80% of our genes with them and they are now being much studied because of this. So never underestimate these squirty blobs! eg:http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2002/12/12_squirt.html

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.