Honeycomb Sea Squirt

Cnemidocarpa stolonifera

Although the Honeycomb Sea Squirt superficially resembles a primitive invertebrate like a sponge, it is actually a highly advanced animal more closely related to the vertebrates than to most other invertebrates (Chordata), having well developed organs including a nervous system. It is a tough and leathery solitary animal (i.e. a single individual) that may grow to 60 mm high. It has a rounded lower body and beneath this is a narrow stalk that is usually embedded in sand. Close together on the upper surface are two narrow siphons. Sea water is inhaled into one of these siphons by a current set up through the rhythmic beating cilia inside internal chambers (stigma). Food particles are extracted after becoming trapped in a mucus web, before the clean water is exhaled into the sea through the other siphon.

The species is found to about 33 m depth along the east coast of Australia from Port Jackson (NSW) to Cape Tribulation (QLD).

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