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 Ascidia conchilega is a sessile, solitary sea squirt that grows to up to 6 cm in length and is greenish in colour. It has an elongate, oval-shaped body that is gelatinous in texture. The whole length of the left-hand side of the body is attached to the substrate. The body has a large dorsal tubercle with a horse-shoe shaped opening, and two inconspicuous siphons; a terminal inhalant oral siphon and a longer, exhalant atrial siphon that is positioned approximately two-thirds of the body length from the oral siphon. The oral siphon is surrounded by six to eight red , rounded lobes, whereas the atrial siphon is surrounded by six of the same. The inner surface of the oral siphon bears a ring of tentacles, and is linked to a large branchial cavity. The branchial cavity is perforated with rows of stigmata and bears small, irregular papillae on the right face of its dorsal lamina. The whole body is encased by a thin, translucent, cartilaginous test that has a smooth outer surface with small, rough projections and particles of shell attached.Ascidia conchilega is a filter-feeder. Individuals of this species are hermaphroditic and reproduce by externally fertilized eggs throughout January to December. Tadpole larvae, approximately 0.1 cm long, hatch from the eggs and settle on the substratum before metamorphosing into the adult form. This species is similar to Ascidia mentula which is larger, has a smooth surface and a grey to pink coloured, thick test.


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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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