Golden Sea Squirt (Polycarpa aurata)

Also known as Tunicates, Sea Squirts, Colonial Ascidians, Compound Ascidians, Bulbous Tunicates, Ink-spot Ascidian, Ink-spot Sea Squirt, Gold-mouth Sea Squirt, Giant Tunicate.

Description

Also known as Tunicates, Sea Squirts, Colonial Ascidians, Compound Ascidians, Bulbous Tunicates, Ink-spot Ascidian, Ink-spot Sea Squirt, Gold-mouth Sea Squirt and Giant Tunicate.

Found singly or in groups on sheltered reef flats and slopes.
They feed on suspended plankton and detritus.
Colourful on the outside and yellow on the inside.
Length - 10cm
Depth - 3-20m
Widespread Indo-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)

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