Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology/Natural History: This species is usually solitary but occasionally a few clump together. This is the most common tunicate in the San Juan Islands but avoids areas of the highest currents. Its hemispherical body is often covered with sand, shell, or debris, and it has been called "the champion tunicate junk collector". The siphons project far from the body when feeding underwater, but can be retracted most of the way if disturbed or when out of the water. Diet includes crustacean, echinoderm, and mollusk larvae and eggs, as well as the larvae and eggs of tunicates. Predators include the seastar Solaster stimpsoni. May have the commensal copepod Pygodelphus aquilonaris or the protozoans Trichophyra salparum, Euplotaspis cionaecola, or Parahypocoma rhamphisokarya. May or may not brood its young (conflicting reports). Has gray eggs. The tunic is 13% organic, including 40% protein and 60% carbohydrate, but does not concentrate vanadium.

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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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This common solitary tunicate is nearly as tall to taller than wide, but not attached by a stalk, body roughly globular with the siphons often projecting and reddish. The tunic is opaque, tough, and wrinkled, ridged, and creased but without spinelike projections. Often the body appears more reddish brown or tan than in the above specimen, which may be partly encrusted with another growth or with sand, as is common with this species. Diameter up to 5 cm, height to 3.5 cm
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Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Distribution

Geographical Range: Shumagin Islands, Alaska to San Diego, CA. Now less common in S CA bays than in the past.

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Physical Description

Type Information

Syntype for Halocynthia haustor foliacea Ritter, 1913
Catalog Number: USNM 5681
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Year Collected: 1889
Locality: Stonewall Bank, Oregon, United States, North Pacific Ocean
Depth (m): 84 to 84
Vessel: Albatross R/V
  • Syntype: Ritter, W. E. 1913. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 45: 447-448.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Syntype for Cynthia haustor Stimpson, 1864
Catalog Number: USNM 3239
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Collector(s): C. Kennerly
Locality: Puget Sound, Washington, United States, North Pacific Ocean
  • Syntype: Stimpson, W. 1852. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. 153-161.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Syntype for Halocynthia washingtonia Ritter, 1913
Catalog Number: USNM 5680
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Preparation: Alcohol (Ethanol)
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Strait Of Juan De Fuca, Cape Flattery, Washington, United States, North Pacific Ocean
Depth (m): 276 to 276
Vessel: Albatross R/V
  • Syntype: Ritter, W. E. 1913. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 45: 445-446.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Look Alikes

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: The rough tunic, broad attachment, tall stature, and red on the siphons distinguish this species.
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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 84 - 84
  Temperature range (°C): 8.850 - 8.850
  Nitrate (umol/L): 16.592 - 16.592
  Salinity (PPS): 33.143 - 33.143
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.751 - 4.751
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.462 - 1.462
  Silicate (umol/l): 20.184 - 20.184
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth range based on 25 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 15 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -1.75 - 278
  Temperature range (°C): 9.967 - 10.151
  Nitrate (umol/L): 6.725 - 7.622
  Salinity (PPS): 31.893 - 31.942
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.534 - 6.561
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.943 - 0.963
  Silicate (umol/l): 14.539 - 15.658

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -1.75 - 278

Temperature range (°C): 9.967 - 10.151

Nitrate (umol/L): 6.725 - 7.622

Salinity (PPS): 31.893 - 31.942

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.534 - 6.561

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.943 - 0.963

Silicate (umol/l): 14.539 - 15.658
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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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): 84 - 84
  Temperature range (°C): 8.850 - 8.850
  Nitrate (umol/L): 16.592 - 16.592
  Salinity (PPS): 33.143 - 33.143
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.751 - 4.751
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.462 - 1.462
  Silicate (umol/l): 20.184 - 20.184
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth Range: Low intertidal to 200 m

Habitat: Rocks, pilings, floats, kelp holdfasts; protected and exposed coasts

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© Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Source: Invertebrates of the Salish Sea

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