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Overview

Brief Summary

The Ascidiella scabra is a rather robust, usually attached on its side. If you bring it out of the water, it often squirts water, giving it all kinds of appropriate nicknames. This sea squirt can live in large numbers on the hull of boats. However, it is easy to remove using a high-pressure hose.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

 This species is solitary but commonly found in dense unfused aggregations. The body is ovoid in shape, up to 130mm long and usually attached to the substratum by the left side. The test or layer that encloses the body is firm to touch, thick, rough and gristly, and is greyish-black or brown in colour, often with attached detritus.
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Description

A tall solitary sea squirt usually found in clumps and attached by its base. The body is oval with a fluted oral siphon at the top and an upward-directed atrial siphon 1/3 of the way down the side of the body. The test is grey and semi-transparent, usually covered with lightly adhering detritus, filamentous algae, etc. There is a series of lighter marks around the edge of each siphon, and the large oral tentacles can easily be seen inside the oral siphon in expanded animals. Typical size 50-100mm. Ciona intestinalis always has yellow marks around the siphons, and is different in shape and consistency. Ascidia spp. have firmer tests. Ascidiella scabra is usually smaller and more squat, with both siphons more or less on a level.
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Distribution

Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: The following geographical range was taken from the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) Global Invasive Database:

Native range: Norway, Baltic Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel, Mediterranean Sea, northwest African coasts (Currie, 1998; de Kluijver, 2004; Hewitt et al. 2002).

Known introduced range: United States (Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Conneticut), New Zealand, Southern Australia, Tasmania, India (Hewitt et al. 2002; Currie, 1998; Pederson et al. 2003; Osman, undated).

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All around the British Isles and from Norway to the Mediterranean. Scarce in the North Sea.
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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Identification

Often confused with A. scabra, because it can attaches itself to the hard substrate by his flanks - a characteristic of the latter.
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 350 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 15 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 330
  Temperature range (°C): 6.695 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.437 - 7.121
  Salinity (PPS): 18.292 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.964
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.273 - 0.651
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.311 - 18.377

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 330

Temperature range (°C): 6.695 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.437 - 7.121

Salinity (PPS): 18.292 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.964

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.273 - 0.651

Silicate (umol/l): 2.311 - 18.377
 
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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2 - 2
  Temperature range (°C): 28.954 - 28.954
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.099 - 0.099
  Salinity (PPS): 34.131 - 34.131
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.525 - 4.525
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.113 - 0.113
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.579 - 1.579
 
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 Found in the lower intertidal and sublittorally to 80 m. Will tolerate salinities as low as 18 psu and is therefore, often found in estuaries.
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Usually in shallow sheltered sites, harbours, sea laughs, etc., attached to shells or pebbles on mud or on silty rock if this is present. Often abundant.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

plankton feeder
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ascidiella aspersa

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ascidiella aspersa

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at Queensland Museum
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Ascidiella aspersa

Ascidiella aspersa is a species of solitary sea squirts native to the northeastern Atlantic, from the Mediterranean Sea to Norway. They possess oval bodies up to 50 to 130 mm (2.0 to 5.1 in) in length. Their branchial (or oral) siphons are conical and positioned at the top of the body. They possess six to eight lobes. The atrial siphons are located at the upper third of the side of the body and possess six lobes. The body is covered by a firm transparent test that is greyish to brown in color. The test often snag detritus that remain loosely attached to the animal. When expanded, at most 40 tentacles can be observed on the inside surface of the branchial wall. Both the openings of the branchial and atrial siphons possess lighter colored ridges on their rims. They may also be frilled at times. A. aspersa are attached to the substrates by the left side of their bodies. They can be found in dense groups of unfused individuals on hard surfaces like rocks. at depths of up to 90 m (300 ft).[2][3][4][5]

A. aspersa closely resemble Ciona intestinalis, but can be distinguished by their lack of yellow markings around their siphons.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ K. Sanamyan & C. Monniot (2011). "Ascidiella aspersa (Müller, 1776)". In Noa Shenkar, Arjan Gittenberger, Gretchen Lambert, Marc Rius, Rosana Moreira Da Rocha, Billie J Swalla & Xavier Turon. Ascidiacea World Database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b B.E. Picton & C.C. Morrow (2010). "Ascidiella aspersa (O F Müller, 1776)". Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ Lisa Curtis (2005). "A sea squirt - Ascidiella aspersa". Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN). Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ NIMPIS (2012). "Ascidiella aspersa (solitary ascidian)". National Introduced Marine Pest Information System. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ M.J. de Kluijver & S.S. Ingalsuo (2012). "Ascidiella aspersa". Macrobenthos of the North Sea - Tunicata. Maine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
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