BIOTIC Species Information for Ciona intestinalis
Click here to view the MarLIN Key Information Review for Ciona intestinalis
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr John Bishop
General Biology
Growth formCylindrical
Feeding methodActive suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpifaunal
Typical food typesSeston HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
HeightUp to 15 cm Growth Rate10-20 mm/month
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
SociabilityGregarious
Toxic/Poisonous?No
General Biology Additional InformationAlthough not strictly gregarious, Ciona intestinalis occurs mainly in dense aggregations such that it dominates the substratum. These aggregations are believed to be caused by hydrodynamic conditions rather than some preferential selection mechanism by the larvae (Havenhand & Svane, 1991) but see Adult distribution. In Swedish shallow waters there are two distinct growth phases: in summer/autumn after settling and in spring/early summer before spawning. Growth rates have also been recorded as up to 0.7 percent of body length per day. Growth rate is dependent on temperature and body size. The species is permanently hermaphroditic so the sexes are not separate. Filter feeders including ascidians are known to be able to accumulate trace elements such as heavy metals. A detailed account of the anatomy of Ciona sp. is provided by Millar (1953).
Biology References Robbins, 1985, Svane & Havenhand, 1993, Schmidt, 1983, Naranjo et al., 1996, Petersen et al., 1995, Millar, 1970, Fox, 1994(a), Millar, 1953,
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