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Pycnoclavella aurilucens

Garstang, 1891

David Kipling Pycnoclavella aurilucens (white and golden versions) for Richie West

David Kipling I suppose we should call it Pycnoclavella albalucens for the white version...

Richie West marvellous! that's species number 50 for crow rock :o)

David Kipling The other related squirt Richie is P. stolonialis. This looks very similar to the white form in this picture, but if you look closely it has a white cross between the siphons, whereas aurilucens has two separate sets of spots outside. It was only described in 2010 by that nice Claire Goodwin! Have a look on Habitas and you'll see the difference between the two species. I've seen P. stolonialis once, although I don't think it was in Pembs. http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZD80

Richie West Thanks David, I have amended my Photographic Guide accordingly. ID was wrong and my correction just had it down as 'unknown'.

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 10 Jul 2012
Rudolf Svensen Anybody knows these sea squirts? Seem like a lot of small inside a large one.

João Pedro Silva Pycnoclavella aurilucens? Read this: http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZD120 "Pycnoclavella overwinters as a basal mass with no zooids, the zooids grow up in spring, produce larvae in late summer, then degenerate."

David Kipling P. aurilucens grows as individual zooids on stalks, joined at the base to a common stolon (which you cannot usually see). The zooids die off in winter, leaving just the stolon. What you're seeing here are individual zooids, not the over-wintering stolon. This picture also shows all the zooids in a common test (as opposed to separate zooids on stalks). This is especially clear when you see the two cloacal openings ... one in the botton left hand side, and another (less clear but a ring of zooids with a hole in the middle) at the extreme bottom RHS. So no, not P. aurilucens. Do I know what it is, though? No, of course not ;) It's a very pretty photo though, almost like lots of tiny Clavelina in a common test.

David Kipling Where was this photo taken Rudolf Svensen? Depth? And can you give an idea as to size (I'm guessing small from the size of the ?bryozoans? in the picture).

Rudolf Svensen Hi David. The image was captured just outside my front door on the South West coast of Norway. I would guess that the whole image is about 100 mm across. Depth is aprox 15 meters.

David Kipling I am very jealous!

David Kipling Can you re-post this to NE Atlantic Tunicata please Rudolf? You're now a member ;)

João Pedro Silva Thanks, David!

Rudolf Svensen David I'll do it when I get back home. I'm on the ferry on my way to a night dive in a fjord.

João Pedro Silva David, could you post this one to that group, too? Thanks! http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/jpsilva1971/6861837972/

João Pedro Silva That was the mobile version. This one is clearer: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpsilva1971/6861837972/

Erling Svensen Bjorn Gulliksen, Norwegian professor working with sea squirt - do not know. I have seen and photographed this colonial tunicata many times (very commen in Egersund), but Bjorn do not know. He would like to have one collected and take a closer view, but so fare I have not done so. David: Could you also make me a member of the Tunicata group?

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 08 Apr 2012
Erling Svensen Here is a cropped version. Thanks for all help.

Marco Faasse Does the ascidian Pycnoclavella aurilucens occur in Norway?

Erling Svensen I have looked it up in the books. It has not been seen yet in Norway, but every year I see from 1 to 5 new species, so may be it can be that one? I will send the pictures to Bjorn Gulliksen, the best on ascidiens in Norway.

David Kipling If those yellow balls are ascidian zooids then they should be attached to the outer edge of the mass, so they can suck in water. A lot seem to be deep inside, and I can't see any siphons. My kroner is on an egg mass.

Erling Svensen Thanks for the answere. Exiting news.

Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat Well, I still think it is a colonial ascidian. The yellow upper part corresponds to the branchial sac, the deepest part with an orange dot corresponds to the stomachal part. If you look carefully to the yellow upper part, you could find the internal structure of a colonial ascidian, each zooids being include inside the commun test. Sure it is not their usual form, they seem to be fully contracted, or it may be winter regression of the whole colony.

Bernard Picton I agree with Wilfried, colonial ascidians do regress and then regrow after reorganising their tissues.

Erling Svensen Do you agree with Marco that this may be P. aurilucens? After Googelng this name I cant say that it looks like it??

Bernard Picton No, Pycnoclavella doesn't have the zooids within a common tunic like this. Perhaps a Botryllus, a polyclinid or a didemnid?

Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat I can't say for sure which species it is, but it is not Pycnoclavella auriluscens which consist of well separated zooids erected from a basal mass (see picture). As Bernard (who writes faster than me in English ;o)) said the clue is in the ascidians with embedded zooids.

Marco Faasse I didn't see a common tunic, but looking once more I think there is one, maybe somewhat deteriorated. Furthermore, Pycnoclavella aurilucens has (always?) bright spots.

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 26 Feb 2012
Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat Pycnoclavella aurilucens, Clavelina lepadiformis and one Pycnoclavella stolonialis, Groix, South Brittany, 10 meters.

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 20 Apr 2012
David Kipling A whole group of them on the big boulders on the SW side of Skomer earlier this year ... there were square-metre patches of both white and golden versions covering the big boulders. Awesome. Look closely and you'll spot P. producta (transparent and no colour spots) mixed in with them ...

Tony Gilbert Based on these images and your comments I came across some, and was able to identify them in the field. Many thanks for that! http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/7651704528/in/set-72157630764104272 These were located as described in Habitas, on a vertical facing wall in around 15m, just on the edge of strong tidal flows. This was on the corner between the Clan Macmaster and Calf Sound, in the Isle of Man. Better still, the image shows 3 types of sea squirts (at least), in this patch, with Pycnoclavella producta are also a couple of Clavelina lepadiformis and a nice bunch of Pycnoclavella aurilucens. I didn't manage too many shots as the tidal flow increased considerably and we were taken down the Sound after that!

David Kipling Yes, top left - white cross between siphons. Nice pics Tony!

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 10 Jul 2012
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Chordata (Phylum)
    Tunicata (Subphylum)
      Ascidiacea (Class)
        Aplousobranchia (Order)
          Pycnoclavellidae (Family)
            Pycnoclavella (Genus)
              Pycnoclavella aurilucens (Species)
Associated Species