Tunicates of the Pier

Tunicates are curious creatures. Although they look very simple and are often mistaken for sponges (the simplest multicellular animals), they are actually Chordates, sharing many features with vertebrates, except the actual backbone. They may be solitary or colonial and are typically identified by the presence of two holes: incurrent and excurrent siphons, which they can close rapidly. The holes on sponges, by contrast, do not move or close. Below are photos of a variety of tunicates living on the Grand Case pier. I have also seen pelagic (free-swimming) tunicates near Petite Plage.

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