Polycarpa aurita   (Sluiter,  1890) (Sea Squirt)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Ascidiacea

Image copyrights: The Marine Biological Association of India

Size: 1.5-3 cm long, 1 cm broad

Color: Test yellowish brown; brownish black pigments present around siphons; red brown.

Body slightly laterally compressed. Branchial aperture terminal, atrial aperture one-third the distance from the anterior end on the dorsal surface. In highly contracted specimens the siphons become obscured and appear to be sessile. Small rounded projections on the surface of the test, crowded, smaller near the siphons and gradually fading towards the posterior end. Fixed by oblique posterior end with a high ventral and low dorsal end. Body elongate and club shaped without a stalk. Individuals found in groups, sometimes joined by their posterior ends to form a common basal mass. Test tough, thick, rigid, cartilaginous, opaque, without hairs or epibionts.

Body wall thick, opaque, pinkish brown with heavier pigmentation in the siphons. Circular and longitudinal muscles well developed in the anterior half of the body. Rim of the apertures turned in due to contraction. Siphon lining has regular rows of arched swellings each with a minute tentacular process. Branchial tentacles 30-35 arranged in 3 orders: long, medium and very short. Prebranchial area narrow. Dorsal tubercle occupies the V-shaped peritubercular area. Opening of the neural gland horizontal slit. Dorsal lamina simple, long. Parastigmatic vessels present. Branchial sac connected to the body wall. Gut forms a narrow loop across the ventro-lateral corner of the body. Oesophagus short, stomach large, occupies half to three-fourth of the ascending limb. Stomach with a typlosolar fold and faint longitudinal grooves. Curved caecum with a gastro-intestinal duct at the pyloric end of the stomach. Intestine curves towards the dorsal middle line. Rectum long, terminal part bent towards the atrial aperture. Secondary gut loop not deep. Gonads consists of numerous elongate polycarps scattered over the body wall radiating towards the atrial aperture. In older mature specimens some of the polycarps overlap. About 10-12 pairs of rounded to oval male follicles beneath the ovarian tube. Endocarps numerous, thin, vascular, spread on the body wall between the gonads and enclosed in the gut loop.

Synonym (s)
Polycarpa aurita Monniot, 1987
Cnemidocarpa polyphlebodes (Hartmeyer, 1919)
(New combination)
Pandocia circumarata (Sluiter, 1904)
(New combination)
Polycarpa circumarata (Sluiter, 1904)
(New combination)
Polycarpa polyphlebodes Hartmeyer, 1919
(Original combination)
Styela aurita Sluiter, 1890
(Original combination)
Styela circumarata Sluiter, 1904
(Original combination)
Styela ramificata Kott, 1952
(Original combination)
Styela robusta Sluiter, 1904
(Original combination)

Common Name (s)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Demersal


• Tamil Nadu, Off Tuticorin Coast INDIA (Depth: -10 mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Off Tuticorin Coast INDIA (Depth: -(4-5) mts)
• Tamil Nadu, Thoppuvalasai 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
  • Sealifebase Available at - http://www.sealifebase.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:2011-02-22

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