Sea Squirts Saturday

, 13 August 2011

Author Ronnie Reed

sea squirt / Paul Naylor

Attached to rocks on the lower shore, sea squirts can be solitary; live in densely packed clumps, or fuse together to form colonies. Their bodies are embedded in a jelly-like gelatinous coating or ‘test’ which is encrusted with sand and fragments of shell. Each individual looks like a tiny, hollow, semi-translucent sack. Water is drawn in, oxygen and food extracted and then expelled by two siphons on the top of the body. A three centimetre sea squirt can filter up to a litre of water an hour. When disturbed they contract their siphons and expel two streams of water together, hence the name.

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