Type of fouling organism: Sea squirt
Ascidians or sea squirts are sessile filter feeding animals commonly found in the subtidal. This group of fouling organisms can be colonial or unitary and are often of indefinite shape and the surrounding tunic can give an appearance that resembles sponges, bryozoans or cnidarians. All are hermaphroditic but usually unitary species release eggs into the sea and colonial species incubate embryos internally. The larval duration can vary greatly affecting dispersal potential.
Ascidia mentula has an oval body and is attached to the substratum on one side. The test is thick, cartilaginous and translucent, with a pink colour in well-lit places and grey in silty areas or deeper water. The body attaches to surfaces mostly on its left side. The oral siphon is wide but short, with eight small pointed white lobes around it. The atrial siphon is halfway along the body. Size range is 50 - 180 mm.
Environment and Habitat
- Subtidal to depths of 200 m.
- Reproductive type: hermaphrodite with external fertilisation.
- Found on other biofouling organisms.
Effects and Impacts
- Problematic for stock species as can compete for space and resources.
Control/ Strategies and Management
Principles of Management
C Combat Settlement
- Found throughout the north east Atlantic from western Norway down to the Mediterranean.
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