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Distomus variolosus

Gaertner, 1774

Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat Here is a species I had previously seen in the Mediterranean Sea, Aplidium coeruleum Lahille, 1890, which is quite common around Camaret ( Western Brittany). The specimens described by Lahille came from Roscoff and it certainly lives also around the British Isles. At the Medes Islands, Spain, I've seen it at depth between 20-30 m but in Britttany, it is present along with Distomus variolosus in the laminarian area . Under water, it looks like a dull greyish Botrylloides but on pictures with its blue lobes it is very nice. Tell me if you have already seen it or if you see it during your next dives ;o)

David Kipling Very pretty - Sue Daly should look out for this in Sark.

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 02 Aug 2013
Richard Yorke More squirts from the Llyn

Richard Yorke Liz Morris has asked me to post this. We assume this is Distomus variolosus and the syphon arrowed appears to have 6 lobes, but it would be nice to have the identification confirmed. I'm not sure about the larger one either.

Liz Morris I think that it seems to have stripey siphons too when closed, and very densley aggregated (amlost looking like its shareing a tunic in places). Would be nice to just have a confirmation if anyone thinks its obvious, as we've been seeing this species off the North Llyn with Seasearch for years, and would be nice to have some confidence that we're correctly iding it!!!

Liz Morris PS - can anyone confirm that dendrodoa and Stolonica have 4 oral lobes, and Distomas 6? I've been looking in Berril and habitas and I'm confused (again!).

David Kipling All the pictures I've seen of Stolonica appear to show some individuals with square siphons. Ditto Dendrodoa (and also try here which suggests the same). http://species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=tunicata&menuentry=plaatjessleutel&pagenum=11

David Kipling Habitas certainly says 6-lobed is distinctive for Distomus, and Wilfried's site shows the same 6-fold symmetry (esp if you look at the stripes). http://www.mer-littoral.org/32/photo-distomus-variolosus-wb01.php

David Kipling On the downside, I normally think of Distomas as being bright red and shiny, as opposed to these rather pallid examples.

David Kipling Liz Morris - I can see the problem with Berrill etc. The picture in Berrill of Distomus (p204) shows 4-fold siphons, as does the picture in Millar Linnean synopsis, although neither comment in the text on this feature. However, by the time you get to Hayward and Ryland (1995) [Fig 13.10] you now see 6-fold siphons (with the expected 4-fold for Dendrodoa and Stolonica). I wonder if it's just an error in the earlier works that has been corrected - Bernard would be able to comment.

Liz Morris wow.... very interesting - you are obviously disturbed by this too! I thought they were a bit pale too, but otherwise very similar. i guess we'll be getting out to collect some of these too then!! Hopefully Bernard may have some thoughts if he's not too busy :)

Anne Bay-Nouailhat Distomus variolosus for sure, pale specimens are not so rare

Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat And Polycarpa scuba

Liz Morris Thank you both.. great straightforward answers!!

Bernard Picton Thanks, Anne, I agree. I get the impression that the paler ones are in places where the water is less clear.

Message posted on NE Atlantic Tunicata on 26 Sep 2012
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Chordata (Phylum)
    Tunicata (Subphylum)
      Ascidiacea (Class)
        Stolidobranchia (Order)
          Styelidae (Family)
            Distomus (Genus)
              Distomus variolosus (Species)
Associated Species