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Ophidiaster ophidianus

(Lamarck, 1816)

Gavin Bushell Also from Pico in the Azores,common in the shallows from 2 metres down to about 10 metres, in heavy surge. Obviously a colonial, encrusting ascidian but which one please?

Ron Silver Didemnum sp.

Gavin Bushell Marvellous, thank you.

Boomer William Wing Compound ascidian - Aplidium sp. http://www.kudalaut.eu/en/ph/87/Photos-Sale/Sea-squirts#

João Pedro Silva There's some discussion regarding these tunicates in the Azores. Following some reports it was Distaplia corolla introduced first in the Horta harbour (Faial island) via ballast tanks and then spread throughout other Portuguese islands (see https://repositorio.uac.pt/bitstream/10400.3/198/1/pp75_78_Wirtz_23A.pdf), the original identification has since been criticized as it was based mostly on photographs.

João Pedro Silva But... as Distaplia corolla was described from the Azores, it could be this is the genuine D. corolla and the one(s) in the Caribbean may (or not) be a different species.

Boomer William Wing Thanks for that João Pedro Silva. Although the Aplidium is very similar and same family, I can see the external difference. Gavin Bushell pic really looks like that of a D. corolla. More pics of D. corolla for Gavin http://www.horta.uac.pt/projectos/Saber/200307/Distaplia_corolla1.JPG http://www.ascidians.com/families/polycitoridae/Distaplia_corolla/AZOdistapliacorolla1.jpg

Gavin Bushell Thank you all for the learning and time you have spent on this. Looking at the pictures, I feel as sure one can ever be that it is Distalpia Corolla but I really can't say whether it was native or the invader. This particular picture was taken at Santa Cruz on the south coast of Pico, just as you come out of the harbour. I cannot remember seeing it so frequently on other dives round Pico. The reference to the horta.uac.pt website has been most helpful because it led me to find http://www.horta.uac.pt/projectos/Saber/200307/artigo.htm

Gavin Bushell Sorry didn't complete the message. I'll continue where I left off. That article (with the benefit of Google translation!) enables me to identify other things I saw round Pico but did not get good photographs of. The nudibranch Tambja ceuta (at Santa Cruz), the sea star Ophidiaster ophidianus, the holothurian Holothuria forskali, and, from the list of examples at the end, Pinna rudis, which seems very likely to be my other message about the mollusc I thought might be a horse mussel. Google images of Pinna rudis look very similar to my picture.

João Pedro Silva Here are two other shots of D. corolla from the Azores. This one from Terceira island: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpsilva1971/4865671734/

João Pedro Silva And from Faial island: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpsilva1971/5637831180/

João Pedro Silva Regarding the Tambja ceutae, you might want to check also Roboastra europaea which is very similar (and a predator of Polyceridae such as Tambja ceutae): http://hypselodoris.blogspot.pt/2011/08/roboastra-europaea-garcia-gomez-1985.html

Gavin Bushell Thanks for that and the link to your book. Where can I get the English version? Of the two I would say it was the Tambja ceuta I saw because, to the best of my recollection and fairly good mental image I have of it, it had tubercles along the sides.

João Pedro Silva It's available through Conchbooks (http://conchbooks.de/?t=53&u=32283) and through Subnauta (http://subnauta.pt/viewPage.php?idPage=46&idCategory=21). In case you get it through Subnauta make sure you leave a note you're ordering the English version.

Antonio Colacino Ophidiaster ophidianus-a red star from Corcelli island Archipelago of La Maddalena-North Sardinia-Italy-Thyrrenian sea

Stuart Pearce Great shot as always Antonio :)

Antonio Colacino THanks Stuart :)

Message posted on The Global Diving Community on 22 Aug 2013
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Echinodermata (Phylum)
    Asterozoa (Subphylum)
      Asteroidea (Class)
        Valvatacea (Superorder)
          Valvatida (Order)
            Ophidiasteridae (Family)
              Ophidiaster (Genus)
                Ophidiaster ophidianus (Species)
Associated Species