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Vie

Tunicate/sea squirt from Visayan Sea...

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Seen this variously described as Clavelina caerulea, Rhopalaea sp., Rhopalaea crassa, etc.

 

Help please?

post-19874-1258003884.jpg

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It really is confusing, isn't it? I've also seen this animal under a variety of names. In both Colin & Arensen and Gosliner, Behrens, & Williams it's called Rhopalaea sp.

 

In a 2001 paper on ascidians of the tropical western Pacific by Monniot & Monniot 2001 I found these two descriptions plus color photographs:

 

Rhopalaea crassa - "The siphons are simple round holes or with six low lobes. The colour of the tunic varies from yellow-green to orange-yellow."

 

Rhopalaea fusca - "The colour is characteristic and concentrated in the tunic. The thoraces are of an intense blue (Fig. 124E), while the siphons are rimmed with a thin orange line and an irregular blackish band.....This spectacular species is one of the most photographed ascidians in guides to the Indo-Pacific fauna." The Monniots say that one of the photos in GBW is this species. It's also on the web in various places as Clavelina fusca.

 

I haven't found a reliable reference yet to Clavelina caerulea which was described from Japan.

 

The Monniots are among the top authorities on tunicates in general & tropical Pacific ones in particular . You might be able to download the paper from http://www.mnhn.fr/publication/zoosyst/z01n2a1.pdf

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Thank you :blush: The paper is great!

Edited by Vie

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