A sea squirt (Ascidia mentula)
|Researched by||Sonia Rowley||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandAscidia mentula has been commonly recorded on the coasts of Britain and Ireland but with few records on the east coasts of England and Scotland.
HabitatThis species can be found on the lower shore down to 2300 meters depth. Often found in shaded gullies and crevices on the rocky shore and attached to Laminaria holdfasts but also on large shells and stones on sand and mud. This species is tolerant of salinities down to 20.
- Large elongate body over 18 cm long.
- Thick, cartilaginous, translucent test.
- Usually red-pink or greenish-olive green but can be grey in deeper waters.
- Attached to the substratum on its left side.
- Small siphons; exhalant terminal, inhalant half to three quarters down the body.
Additional informationAscidia mentula is fertilized externally and produces a tadpole larvae up to 0.8 mm in length, with a short planktonic phase. Breeding in this species occurs throughout the year but predominantly during the summer. The branchial sac of Ascidia mentula is commonly inhabited by the pea crab Pinnotheres pinnotheres or the copepod Notopterophorus papilio. The small bivalve Modiolarca tumida can also live commensally in the test. Ascidia mentula may be mistaken for Ascidia virginea which has a smooth, retangular, transparent rose-pink test with red veins on the mantle.
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Last Updated: 03/07/2008