Skeleton Panda Sea Squirts

by | Jun 18, 2020 | Invertebrates | 8 comments

Have you ever seen such a thing? Does anyone know if they are actually real?

These are Skeleton Panda Sea Squirts, also known as Ascidians (as they’re in the class. If they ARE real, then, like all sea squirts, they are sessile, meaning that as adults, one end of the body is always firmly fixed to rock, coral, or some similar solid surface. The upper surface of the animal, opposite to the part gripping the substratum, has two openings, or siphons. When removed from the water, the animal often violently expels water from these siphons, hence the common name of “sea squirt”.

Almost all ascidians are hermaphrodites. The gonads are located in the abdomen or postabdomen, and include one testis and one ovary, each of which opens via a duct into the cloaca. Broadly speaking, the ascidians can be divided into species which exist as independent animals (the solitary ascidians) and those which are interdependent (the colonial ascidians). Different species of ascidians can have markedly different reproductive strategies, with colonial forms having mixed modes of reproduction.


Over the last few hundred years, most of the world’s harbors have been invaded by non-native sea squirts that have clung to ship hulls or to introduced organisms such as oysters and seaweed. Several factors, including quick attainment of sexual maturity, tolerance of a wide range of environments, and a lack of predators, allow sea squirt populations to grow rapidly. Unwanted populations on docks, ship hulls, and farmed shellfish cause significant economic problems, and sea squirt invasions have disrupted the ecosystem of several natural sub-tidal areas by smothering native animal species.

Sea squirts are the natural prey of many animals, including nudibranchs, flatworms, molluscs, rock crabs, sea stars, fish, birds, and sea otters. They are also eaten by humans in many parts of the world, including Japan, Korea, Chile, and Europe (where they are sold under the name “sea violet”). As chemical defenses, many sea squirts intake and maintain an extremely high concentration of vanadium in the blood, have a very low pH of the tunic due to acid in easily ruptured bladder cells, and (or) produce secondary metabolites harmful to predators and invaders.[14] Some of these metabolites are toxic to cells and are of potential use in pharmaceuticals.

Information pulled from wikipedia

  • xeniaforever

    As senior editor here at reefs, I get to work with scientists from all over the world, and have made some wonderful friends in the industry! I also write for the site, and am the office manager at FRESH New London and the mother of two brilliant, talented young women.

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  1. Lynn

    Just when you think you’ve seen just about everything the sea has to offer…amazingly bizarre!

    • Kelsey

      You will never discover EVERYTHING in the ocean, it’s not possible.

  2. Nicole O Jackson

    Thanks for the article. I happen to see these and searched Google for answers.

  3. Shelly

    Wow…yeah I read a science article about how sea squirts reverse aging, if eaten or ingested in any form. I’m going to give it a try and order a supplement. I also read that we’ve got a problem with them being invase in the New Jersey Sound. So seems like a win, win situation. The fountain of youth and species control…

  4. jeffy

    they are very much ediblie and yummy to eat

    • joslyn

      u r grows they r not made to eat

    • joslyn

      u r grows they r not made to eat

  5. Null

    “They are also eaten by humans in many parts of the world, including Japan, Korea, Chile, and Europe (where they are sold under the name “sea violet”).”
    It would seem as though some people do eat them so they probably taste fine.


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