The tunicates known as larvaceans (or appendicularians, Appendicularia=Larvacea) are solitary, luminescent zooplankton, rarely exceeding 5 mm. The name “larvacean” is a reference to their resemblance to the larval stages of some other tunicates. Larvaceans live in a gelatinous casing, or “house”, that is secreted around the body and is involved in their complex feeding. Larvaceans feed mainly on tiny phytoplankton and bacteria—as small as 0.1 µm. The anus of larvaceans opens directly to the outside into the path of water flowing out of the excurrent siphon.
(Brusca and Brusca 2003)
- Brusca, R. C. and G.J. Brusca. 2003. Invertebrates, 2nd edition. Sinauer, Sunderland, Massachusetts.
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