Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This species is a simple, solitary ascidian, that sometimes grows in dense clusters. The body is globular in shape, measures 1-4 cm in diameter, and attaches to the substrate at its base. The oral and atrial siphons are positioned anteriorly, and prominent when extended. Overall, the tunic is translucent to greyish-green in colour; the surface is covered with numerous tiny hair-like fibrils, often fouled with pieces of shell, algae, or sediment. A bean-shaped kidney is located on the right side of the body, and along with the reproductive gonads, is often visible through the tunic.

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Description

 A rounded solitary ascidian about 1-3 cm across that often occurs in dense clusters. The colour is grey or greenish-blue and the test is covered with fibrils that may or may not be attached with sand grains, shell fragments etc.Several species had, until recently, been included in Molgula manhattensis: Molgula simplex Alder & Hancock, 1870; Molgula siphonata Alder 1850; Molgula socialis Alder 1848, and Molgula tubifera Orstedt 1844 (Connor & Picton in Howson & Picton, 1997). Separation for the purpose of this review has not been carried out as it is uncertain to what extent authors of papers have worked with Molgula manhattensis sensu stricto. It also seems (Kott 1976 quoted in Kott 1985) that the eastern Atlantic species may be Molgula tubifera and that Molgula manhattensis occurs on the Atlantic coast of North America from Maine to Lousiana. Nevertheless, the Species Directory (Howson & Picton, 1997) lists Molgula manhattensis for Britain and Ireland and so no change in name is suggested here.
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Distribution

Bay of Fundy to Gulf of Mexico
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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circum-global
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Molgula manhattensis has been introduced to the Northeast Pacific, with confirmed records from British Columbia to California. In addition, this species has been introduced to several other locations around the world, including Australia, China, and Japan. In Great Britain and northern Europe, the species is considered cryptogenic. Its native geographical range includes the northeast United States from Maine to Louisiana.

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Physical Description

Look Alikes

In the Northeast Pacific, Molgula manhattensis is most similar to to other molgulid tunicates, including M. pacifica (Huntsman, 1912), M. pugetiensis Herdman, 1898, and M. verrucifera Ritter and Forsyth, 1917; another non-native species found in the region, M. ficus (Macdonald, 1859); and in Alaska, M. retortiformis Verrill, 1871 and the recently documented M. citrina Alder and Hancock, 1848.

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Ecology

Habitat

infralittoral of the Gulf and estuary
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Depth range based on 708 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 28 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -99 - 578
  Temperature range (°C): 9.899 - 24.203
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.113 - 15.969
  Salinity (PPS): 33.270 - 36.231
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.960 - 6.328
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 1.248
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 7.953

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -99 - 578

Temperature range (°C): 9.899 - 24.203

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.113 - 15.969

Salinity (PPS): 33.270 - 36.231

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.960 - 6.328

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 1.248

Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 7.953
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 Attached to bedrock, boulders, stones and shells in the littoral and sublittoral to depths of 90 m. Molgula manhattensis is found especially in ports and harbours.
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Migration

Alien species

De ronde zakpijp Molgula manhattensis is al lange tijd aanwezig in Europa, langs de oostkust van Amerika en rond Australië. Sommige auteurs zijn er echter van overtuigd dat de Amerikaanse en Europese vormen van deze soort aparte soorten zijn en dat we daarom de ronde zakpijn in Europa niet als een exoot kunnen beschouwen. In België werd de ronde zakpijp voor het eerst waargenomen en gerapporteerd in het midden van de 19de eeuw in de haven van Oostende. Later vestigde de soort zich ook in de havens van Zeebrugge en Blankenberge. De soort zou hier terecht gekomen zijn door vasthechting op scheepsrompen.
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Alien species

The sea grape, Molgula manhattensis, has been present for a long time in Europe, along the east coast of America, and around Australia. Some authors are convinced that the specimens found in America or Europe are different species altogether and therefore in Europe the sea grape can not be considered an exotic species. In Belgium this sea grape was first observed and reported in the middle of the 19th century in the harbour of Ostend. Later the species also established itself in the harbours of Zeebrugge and Blankenberge. The species could have arrived in Belgium via attachment to ship's hulls.
  • VLIZ Alien Species Consortium
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Associations

Known prey organisms

Molgula manhattensis preys on:
plankton
detritus

Based on studies in:
USA: New Jersey (Brackish water)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • C. H. Peterson, The importance of predation and competition in organizing the intertidal epifaunal communities of Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, Oecologia (Berlin) 39:1-24, from p. 8 (1979).
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Known predators

Molgula manhattensis is prey of:
Neopanope texana sayi

Based on studies in:
USA: New Jersey (Brackish water)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • C. H. Peterson, The importance of predation and competition in organizing the intertidal epifaunal communities of Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, Oecologia (Berlin) 39:1-24, from p. 8 (1979).
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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: Molgula manhattensis

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: Molgula manhattensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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