Learn About Sea Squirts

Sea squirts are familiar to all SCUBA divers by the size and general conspicuousness of the subtidal forms, but may go un-noticed by casual beach-walkers because most of the intertidal forms are compound types and are flat, generally inconspicuous, and have a superficial resemblance to sponges.

NOTE "sea squirt" is a common name for tunicates/ascidians and is derived from their tendency to squirt seawater periodically from the main branchial siphon to back-flush sediments, other indigestible matter, and small animals from the filtering basket (about 10 times per hour in some species). Squirting is more commonly seen in the larger, solitary species

The response of Styela montereyensis after some neutral red dye is delivered to the inhalent siphon.

ANIMATION of snail meeting the TUNICATE
© 2010 Thomas Carefoot

To learn about west-coast TUNICATES: select a topic from the Ascidiacea > sea squirt menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail meeting the TUNICATE

OR, if you want to see other animations: follow the snail on its ODYSSEY by CLICKING on any X-marked invertebrate on the map