Golden Sea Squirt (Polycarpa aurata)

Also known as Bulbous Tunicates, Colonial Ascidians, Compound Ascidians, Giant Tunicate, Goldmouth Sea Squirt, Inkspot Ascidian, Inkspot Sea Squirt, Ox Heart Ascidian, Sea Squirts, Tunicates

Description

Also known as Bulbous Tunicates, Colonial Ascidians, Compound Ascidians, Giant Tunicate, Goldmouth Sea Squirt, Inkspot Ascidian, Inkspot Sea Squirt, Ox Heart Ascidian, Sea Squirts, Tunicates.

Found singly or in colonies over sheltered reef flats and slopes.
They feed on suspended plankton.
Colourful on the outside and yellow on the inside.
Length - 15cm
Depth - 3-50m
Widespread Indo-West Pacific

These urn shaped ascidians have numerous and minute oral siphons.
Often confused with Didemnum robustum which has numerous bigger oral siphons.
They vary in colour from white, orange to bright green.
The green colour inside is the result of being inhabited by minute blue/green algae.
The Egyptian sea star - Gomophia egyptiaca and the Sea Snail - Gyrineum gyrinum prey upon this sea squirt.

Ascidian, also known as tunicates because their bodies are covered by a "tunic" a tough cellulose-like covering.
The other common name is sea squirt because when threatened they sometimes eject a jet of water. (edit) Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarpa_aurata

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