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Botryllus schlosseri

(Pallas, 1766)

Ruth Sharratt Finally, I'm pretty certain this is botryllus schlosseri, but I have never seen one on its own.

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 06 Nov 2013
Carol Horne Here's a photo I took of something I called botryllus schlosseri too.....found near Pwllheli by East Tudwal

David Kipling I'd call it that too - flat sheet, zooids in star shaped cluster of <12 zooids, central cloacal cavity.

Tony Gilbert Yes, this looks more like the ones I am used to seeing, not that dull grey number I found, thanks.

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 26 Jun 2012
George Brown Botryllus schlosseri

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 29 Apr 2013
Louise Allcock Hi everyone. Lovely day on the shore at Finavarra (County Clare) yesterday. Here are some photos. They were taken on an iphone so don't expect too much (!). Bernard has kindly IDed them from the photos... Now if I've managed to upload the right picture (I am not good with Facebook...) this should be Botryllus schlosseri. A few more colour forms of this will follow...

David Kipling Star shaped arrangement of zooids indicates Bot schloss, yes.

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 09 Mar 2012
Lutfu Tanrıover Botryllus schlosseri . A kind of asidian on a seaweed

Message posted on UWphotographers on 27 Feb 2013
Tony Gilbert Found this recently, I think its a colonial sea squirt (that I am not sure about either), and have currently labelled it as an Archidistoma, but prob. incorrect on that score. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/7430980320/in/set-72157630261848918 I found it (didn't see another colony) in Nestends Gully in Eyemouth, North Sea, depth 10m on vertical wall about half-way up. . I like to take a stab at finding what something is first. Have had a look around for similar pics, but as yet haven't found one. Perhaps someone has an image out there that has identified this?

Chris Barrett I think Dawn's right

Tony Gilbert It does look like Botryllus schlosseri, but I thought that zooids and test had sharply contrasting colours, whereas this one doesn't? I know it can be highly colour variable, and have seen plenty of those, this just seemed a little dull.

David Kipling It's certainly got the zooid arrangement of Bot schlos (~6-12 zooids in each group). There's a great range of colours for Bot schloss (the genetics of which has been well studied) and quite often I see mono-colour ones. This def comes into the dull category, though!

Tony Gilbert Great thanks David - it'll go down as a dull-bot-schloss then!

Carol Horne Sorry - still getting the hang of facebook. I've posted a photo somewhere (perhaps on my own photo page) of one I took East Tudwal, Pwllheli....at least I think it's one.

Tony Gilbert Thanks, yes I see it.

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 25 Jun 2012
Shôn Roberts Can anyone tell me what these are ? Photo taken on the Menai Straits nature trail on Saturday 28-9-13

Liz Morris The star sea squirt... Botryllus schlosseri. Comes in several colour morphs... in the Menai Strait often bicolour as youve seen or all blue.. so blue you cant see the zooids and then you look at the photos and say 'oh yes, I can see stars now'.

Wendy Northway Lovely specimum

Carol Horne Having had Liz tell us all about botryllus and its morphs couple of weekends ago, yes! I recognise them - AND the blue meenies that are also same species.

Message posted on Seasearch North Wales on 29 Sep 2013
Penny Martin And what is this little chap above the Botryllus schlosseri ??

Marco Faasse Could be the amphipod Gammarellus angulosus, which has an angular outline to thesegments of the abdomen, or the related G. homari, commoner in the north.

Kevin Jones Saw this in Lyme Bay, Dorset....can anyone advise me as to what it is, I am guessing its a sponge?

James Lynott I think that is a type of colonial sea squirt known as a Star Ascidian.

David Kipling Ring of ~ eight animals (white) around a common cloaca in the middle. Actually it's a sheet, but looks like a sponge lump here as it's growing over something and following the contours.

Kevin Jones David, should this animal actually be flat normally......rather than growing over something?

Martin Gray Didn't you find something like this, though in red, earlier this year Mary Harris

Sarah Bowen It comes in lots of different colours; it's the pattern that is distinctive. Mostly blue, yellow, cream, brown with contrast highlights. And it often grows over other things, so although it should be flat, often doesn't look it.

Star ascidian (Botryllus schlosseri

Kevin Jones many thanks everyone....can now add that to my Sea Search Observers list

David Kipling I like to see squirts on Seasearch forms ;)

James Lynott An example of B. schlosseri growing over another sea squirt. Can anyone advise on the ID of the other two solitary squirts? http://flic.kr/p/eJgRCu

David Kipling It's growing over Ascidia mentula. It has the oral siphon (water-in) at the top, and the atrial (water-out) siphon way down the side. Note the reddish colour on the test. The other one (a translucent, milky appearance a bit like Lalique glass) with a vague pinkish tinge and siphons closer together is Ascidia virginia. Virginia is always very clean, mentula is usually covered with stuff growing on it unless very young.

David Kipling You have nice Bot schloss here too, as well as patches of Diplosoma listerianum. Was this a relatively shallow location? http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlynott/9011126712/in/set-72157634053596577

James Lynott Thank you David for your help. Yes that was quite shallow, less than 10m.

David Kipling Thought so. D listerianum is usually small fragile transparent patches in shallow water (often on kelp), whereas you get the larger and coloured (white bits) D spongiforme in deeper water. Which boat were you using for this trip btw?

Wendy Northway will they suffocate the squirt on which they are growing?

David Kipling No :) The test of the solitary squirt is protective - thick and made of cellulose. All the important interactions with the outside world (water in/out for feeding and breathing, release of sperm/eggs/poo) takes place through the two siphons. So as long as they are clear the squirt is happy. In fact it's probably better protected with the epibiont coverage.

Wendy Northway so it won't grow over the siphons?

David Kipling It could try I suppose! The siphons are very sensitive and contractile, so I doubt it'd get a hold. Imagine the siphon filly closed and something does grow over ... when the siphon then expands by muscular action it'd rip a hole in whatever is above it. So the movement should keep it clean. The test is often rough deliberately to encourge epibiont coverage and thus camouflage and protection - some tropical squirts are always hidden except for siphons.

Wendy Northway thank you!

James Lynott We were originally supposed to be with creag ard charters but his boat had engine problems so they arranged for us to dive with Atlantic Dive Services which was great. Thanks for the IDs of the other colonial squirts as well!

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 12 Jun 2013
Ilan Lubitz any idea we be appreciated

Arne Kuilman The green is Didemnum molle and the other a colonial ascidian. Looks interesting.

Arne Kuilman Like Botryllus schlosseri

Ilan Lubitz tnx Arne Kuilman tnx so practically both are sea squirt ? ;-)

Arne Kuilman Yep, but the starry one is uncommon and a colony of many smaller ones.

Paula Lightfoot Is this Botrylloides leachii?

David Kipling Hayward and Ryland key-out the difference as follows: Zooids arranged in small, star-shaped clusters=Botryllus schlosseri Zooids arranged in sinuous parallel lines=Botrylloides leachii

David Kipling But since Bot schloss can readily have 12 zooids per star that doesn't help here ;( Would be nice to know if there are other differential features.

Paula Lightfoot I thought it was B leachii because the zooids are definitely in lines, but I don't want to get it wrong as I'm putting the photo on the Meet the Species website!

George Brown Looks like B. leachii to me but far from certain. The problem with small/juvenile species is that they've not had time to develop properly and so can look subtly different to larger/mature examples. As has been demonstrated many times in these groups we sometimes ask too much from a single photo.

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 24 Aug 2012
Erling Svensen This one must be eating? Or...?

David Kipling Certainly looks like it Erling. I guess with tunicates that once you have got thru the tunic then the insides are pretty soft. So a radula that can eat one tunicate should allow it to eat a similar sort of tunicate (provided they like the taste!). What ascidians do this species usually eat?

Erling Svensen In "my book" I can read that they eat Botryllus schlosseri, Dendrondoa grossularia and Diplosoma listerianum. So may be they like the taste :-)

Message posted on NE Atlantic Nudibranchs on 05 Feb 2012
Andy Jackson HI all, this was shot in Orkney, I'm assuming it's a blue sponge of some sort, can anyone identify please? thks AJ

David Kipling Based on the bit at the front I'd say it's Bot schloss.

David Kipling Are those two patches of Polyclinum aurantium to the extreme left (Orkney would be the right place to find it, loads of records on NBN for this species).

Paula Lightfoot Yes looks like the flower sea squirt Botryllus schlosseri, not a sponge.

Andy Jackson Thanks David and Paula, I'm processing hours of similar footage from 2 trips to Shetland and Orkney, it's destined for sale with the Nature Picture Library. You'd love it all, some fantastic scenes with lots of secondary subjects that have crept into shot without me noticing! So much colour!

David Kipling Andy Jackson - could you do me a favour? I'm trying to sort out in my head what Polyclinum aurantium looks like in the field, and one of the things I've seen labelled as it is that pair of buff-cloured blobs in the extreme left foreground. Could you post a cropped version of this image, or if these are screen grabs from video then do you have a better one? Thanks!

Andy Jackson Dave, its a video screen shot, I'll post an enlarged version of it. This clip doesn't get any better but as I'm processing I'll look out for more.

David Kipling Cheers - FB throws most resolution away, so a crop usually helps.

Message posted on Seasearch North East England on 06 Oct 2012
Penny Martin what sea slug is this ?? with egg ribbon??

Richard Lord Could be Aeolidia papillosa

Chris Barrett I agree with Richard. Ooh, and is that BoBotryllus schlosseri I see?

Chris Barrett *Botryllus

Bernard Picton The spawn is probably from the Onchidoris

Chris Barrett Is that an Onchidoris you can see beneath the Aeolidia?

Bernard Picton Yes, I just tagged it.

Penny Martin Thank you :-)

Bernard Picton Don't think you'll get this treatment next time Penny, I'm just trying out the possibilities here.

Penny Martin sorry ..... did i do something wrong ????

João Pedro Silva Any idea on what this may be?

George Brown Something from the Didemnidae family of Tunicates such as Lissoclinum perforatum? When the colony is so small it's difficult to be specific.

Chris Barrett Where was this taken, Joao? I agree with George. In Britain, Botryllus schlosseri looks similar, although like George says, it's hard to be specific due to the size

João Pedro Silva Chris, all my photos one Flickr are georeferenced with relatively good resolution (I'd say error is less than 50m). This was shot on the outside wall of the harbour of Sesimbra, Portugal (latitude: 38.43414, longitude: -9.11436).

George Brown Sorry Chris but a bottle of Glenmorangie's finest says it's definitely not Botsch. :) No evidence of "stars".

Chris Barrett I'd love to win that bottle of Glenmorangie, but I have a feeling you'd win it!

Chris Barrett I just wondered if those little patches/holes in the mass may have been 'stars' in the making?

George Brown That's an interesting point you make. I've got an image of a botsch tiny colony of one "star". I'll post soon as I find it.

Tony Gilbert B. schlosseri is recorded in the Canary Islands although I haven't seen it in Lanzarote yet. It is recorded as rare from the Especies de Marinas, but I wonder whether the colonies mutate in someways and adapt to the local conditions and water temperatures. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/6679762995/in/set-72157628362398207/

Claire Goodwin I'm with George on this one - not B. scholosseri. Far to gelatinous looking and no regular colonies. The large exhalent siphons made me think of Lissoclinum perforatum too but it doesn't have the clear regular smaller inhalent ones found in this species. A closer pic might help but I don't think we'll be able to get much further - sorry!.

João Pedro Silva Thanks! I posted a closeup but I'm not sure if you got to see it: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3821209169794&set=o.341487989207852&type=1&ref=nf

Claire Goodwin Thanks - definitely looks too fuzzy for anything I can put a name on.

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 27 Apr 2012
Jim Anderson Can someone ID this please - approx 130 mm high o/a at 8 m Greenends Gully, Eyemouth, Scotland - 2 June 2013

Richard Lord It looks like unusual colouration for Botryllus schlosseri

David Kipling I agree with Nick ... sorry, Richard and Dawn. Bot schlosh has loads of different colour morphs due to various genes segregating in the population (you can cross your own and make new colours!). On variable is the colour of the general test into which the zooids are embedded - here it is clear test, blue zooids. Could you post a cropped version Jim - I'm curious if this version has red dots between the oral and atrial siphons.

Jim Anderson Thanks folks

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 03 Jun 2013
David Kipling Welcome to Penny Martin! Could anyone give some guidance on distinguishing Botrylloides violaceus from B. leachi based on in situ underwater images? Penny has some taken in Orkney that are causing us to scratch our heads a little, and help from the experts would be fabulous.

Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat B. violaceus could be distinguished by a wide margin without zooids around the colony and by its various colour forms orange, red, purple ...

David Kipling Do you have some pictures that you could post Wilfried, to illustrate the difference? Or some URLs to images that you trust.

David Kipling Most of the pictures of B violaceus that I have seen have shown a bright orange version, and the Marlin entry says that B leachi is "two tone" colour ("The one-toned colouration of Botrylloides violaceus distinguishes it from Botrylloides leachi and Botryllus schlosseri."). It was this that made me think B.violaceus for the Deer Sound image that Penny Martin has posted, but that doesn't have the wide margin you describe. http://www.marlin.ac.uk/speciesinformation.php?speciesID=2791

Becky Hitchin https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/index.cfm?pageid=135 - useful page!

David Kipling So based on that page do you think Penny Martin's bright orange specimen on this group is violaceus or leachi? I'm confused!

Becky Hitchin Based on marlin, I'd say violaceus, based on NNSS I'd say leachi!

David Kipling But NNSS doesn't say much except "can be bright orange" for violaceus, which is what Penny sees. Argh!!!

Becky Hitchin well it talks about a clear "jelly" over the surface, but mainly a distinctive pattern of zooids (which looks very different to marlin's pattern!)

Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat I don't think that colour as a single distinctive element is enough to identify botrylloides in situ. For the moment nothing is really clear concerning B. leachii colouration and probaby more than one species hides under that name in NE Atlantic waters. As for B. violaceus, the wide margin and the elongated ampula visible within that margin seems to be an interesting point. In that case, none of Penny Martin's pictures are B. violaceus, but they may not be B. leachii either. Here is a link to Y. Saito's website. http://www.shimoda.tsukuba.ac.jp/~hassei/index.html He studies botrylloides and there are many interesting things about their anatomy. And a page with pictures of B. violaceus http://www.shimoda.tsukuba.ac.jp/~hassei/animals/Botryllid/Species/violaceus.html

Becky Hitchin gosh, that's interesting - thank you!

David Kipling I think we need a trip to Orkney to visit Penny Martin and do some zooid dissection, don't you Becky?

Penny Martin Hey... that would be good ..... you would be very welcome .... just to look at these ??

Penny Martin I'm confused .... but they look like B. Violaceus to me ... I will go out and take some more photos if I can re find them !

David Kipling Always like Orkney - was there last year en route to Fair Isle on MV Halton. I think we need to get you a protocol and reagents so you can relax and fix these critters for dissection ... if you just rip them apart normally in sea water they contract up too much to be able to see anything. Then you can post samples to an expert to check if necessary.

Becky Hitchin David Kipling, I think that would be a great idea!

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 09 Apr 2012
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Chordata (Phylum)
    Tunicata (Subphylum)
      Ascidiacea (Class)
        Stolidobranchia (Order)
          Styelidae (Family)
            Botryllus (Genus)
              Botryllus schlosseri (Species)
Associated Species