Polycarpa scatterata     (Sea Squirt)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Ascidiacea

Size: 1 cm long, 1 cm broad

Color: Living specimens light grey, in preservative the color fades to dirty yellow.

Laterally flattened, upright, more or less round to squarish, sessile, fixed by their posterior end. Test thin, soft, flexible invested with fine sand, silt, hydroids, worm tubes, etc. as epibionts. Both the apertures on the anterior end situated a little apart, directed anteriorly. Siphons indistinct.

Body wall yellowish brown, thin, transparent adhering to the test. Internal siphons short. Circular muscles present around siphons and on both sides of the body. Longitudinal muscles from the siphons extend on to the right and left sides of the body and form a mesh with the circular muscles. More than 60 branchial tentacles crowded around the base of the branchial siphon. Dorsal tubercle fills the V-shaped peritubercular area. Opening of the neural gland U-shaped with both the horns turned in. Branchial sac has narrow flat folds which do not overlap. 4 internal longitudinal vessels between folds and 18-20 on the folds. 4-5 stigmata per mesh. Dorsal lamina a short low membrane. Gut forms a narrow deeply curved loop at the posterior end of the body. Oesophagus short. Stomach barrel shaped with 12 well marked oblique external folds occupying only one-third of the ascending limb of the gut loop, broader towards the pyloric end leading to a wide intestine. A curved gastric caecum at the junction of the stomach and intestine. Intestine same diameter throughout. Rectum directed anteriorly, opens at the base of the atrial siphon just anterior to the oesophagus, anus with small rounded lobes. Gonads scattered on both sides and deeply embedded in the body wall. Each gonad consists of 4-8 rounded ova surrounded by pear shaped to bilobed testis follicles. From each testis follicle arises a small duct which joins together to open along with the oviduct. Male and female component of each gonad spread out and the adjacent gonads become confluent. The primary circular arrangement of the gonad lost with maturity. Endocarps completely absent from the body wall except for a tall one enclosed in the gut loop.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
Economic Importance and Threats



• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin Harbour (Lat: 8.8) (Long: 78.18) INDIA (Record: 2006) (Depth: -4 mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Adanchery INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Meenakshi, VK and Senthamarai, S (2006) Two new styelid ascidians - Polycarpa maniensis sp. nov., Polycarpa scatterata sp. nov. and one new record Polycarpa aurita (Sluiter, 1890) from Indian waters Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 48(1) 95-99 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Meenakshi, VK; Renganathan, TK; Senthamarai, S and Jeyalakshmi, J (2003) Marine biodiversity - Taxonomy of Indian Ascidians Technical report Available at - Biodiversity Informatics Group, NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2011-02-23

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