Concept

Ascidiacea

Summary
Ascidiacea, commonly known as the ascidians or sea squirts, is a paraphyletic class in the subphylum Tunicata of sac-like marine invertebrate filter feeders. Ascidians are characterized by a tough outer "tunic" made of a polysaccharide. Ascidians are found all over the world, usually in shallow water with salinities over 2.5%. While members of the Thaliacea (salps, doliolids and pyrosomes) and Appendicularia (larvaceans) swim freely like plankton, sea squirts are sessile animals after their larval phase: they then remain firmly attached to their substratum, such as rocks and shells. There are 2,300 species of ascidians and three main types: solitary ascidians, social ascidians that form clumped communities by attaching at their bases, and compound ascidians that consist of many small individuals (each individual is called a zooid) forming large colonies. Sea squirts feed by taking in water through a tube, the oral siphon. The water enters the mouth and pharynx, flows through mucus-c
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