The Aqua Blog

The Aqua Blog

A place for stories and articles related to the quality of our water

Insidious Ascidians

By Maureen Dunn

I found a strange creature in the waters of the Great South Bay along the south shore of Long Island. It looked like giant worm floating on the sea surface. I had observed something similar a few days earlier, entwined in a mass of floating eelgrass. The creature was about 3/4 inch wide, and about 10 inches long with a firm rubbery texture. It was mostly burgundy with ridges on the upper surface (See Figure 1). I picked it up and examined it closely with a magnifying glass. Upon closer inspection, I realized this was not a worm at all — it is an organism called a colonial tunicate.

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