The Creature Featured today is the Monterey Stalked Tunicate (Styela montereyensis). Also known as sea squirts, the tunicates are more linked to humans than those octopus with clever thoughts, crabs with their fancy jointed appendages or sea hares with their joy of sex (mass orgies). In fact, they belong to a group of animals known as the Urochordates, a subphylum of phylum Chordata, animals with backbones. In their larval form tunicates have a primitive spinal cord, stomach and heart . As free swimming youngsters, they sport an appearance resembling a tiny tadpole or human embryo. As adults, Styela montereyensis claim a sedentary life attached to a surge channel or the ocean floor filtering plankton through their dual siphons. Check out http://www.bluewaterventures.org for our next naturalist-led adventure.
Archive for December, 2013
Here’s an unusual find, the internal shell structure of a sea butterfly, Corolla spectabilis. As the name implies this pelagic gelatinous snail can swim rapidly through the water as it escapes its predators. To feed, it oozes a muscus snare to capture its planktonic prey. We found this while exploring Greyhound Rock. Winter offers excellent tides that may reveal unusual sea creatures.
To learn more about this interesting species found in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary check out: http://jellieszone.com/corolla.htm