Choir Boy Sea Squirt

Clavelina australis

This Sea Squirt (ascidian) lives in a range of different habitats, from coral reefs (amongst the dead coralline rubble) to man-made structures such as wharf piles. A remarkable feature of this species is that each little bulb that appears to be an individual Sea Squirt is actually a colony of many Sea Squirts, each one a replicate (identical clone) of its neighbour. This colony of Sea Squirts has a common cement (called a test), in which all the individuals animals are partially embedded, even though they appear to be part of a single animal. In the water the species looks rounded and inflated like a balloon, but out of the water they lose this appearance becoming flat, deflated and slightly slimy.

Found from Western Port Bay (Victoria) to Moreton Bay (Queensland).

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