Loch Goil sea squirt (Styela gelatinosa)
|Researched by||Dr Keith Hiscock & Paolo Pizzolla||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
A solitary sea squirt with a cylindrical, pear-shaped body up to 4 cm tall. The body is constricted near the base and may have a short stalk.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandStyela gelatinosa has only been recorded from Britain in recent years, although is well known from Scandinavian waters where it is recorded from depths of 100 to 1300 m (Millar, 1966; Holt & Davies, 1991).
Global distributionRecorded from Svalbard, eastern Greenland, the Barents Sea, Iceland, The Faroes, all of the coast of Norway and in the Skaggerak.
HabitatStyela gelatinosa is characteristic of the biotope COS.Sty, which is only recorded from Loch Goil in the Clyde sea lochs. It most likely attaches to terrestrial debris (leaves, branches), shells and other hard substrata.
Depth range65m and deeper
- Cylindrical, pear-shaped or ovoid.
- Narrow at the lower end, sometimes a short stalk.
- Up to 4 cm long, occasionally more.
- Dorsal tubercle horseshoe-shaped with open interval forward or to the left.
- One gonad on each side, consisting of a long, slightly sinuous tubular ovary round at the lower end of which are grouped the testicular folds.
In view of extensive studies undertaken by Allen (1953) in similar deep water habitats in the Clyde sealochs and Firth of Clyde but with no record of Styela gelatinosa made, it may have a very restricted distribution in Britain and may be an ice age relic. Styela gelatinosa is easily separated from Styela clava, which occurs in similar locations, by its upright habit and narrow base or slight stalk.
Allen, J.A. 1953a. Observations on the epifauna of the deep-water muds of the Clyde Sea area, with special reference to Chlamys septemradiata (Müller). Journal of Animal Ecology, 22, 240-260.
Holt, R. & Davies, M. 1991. Marine Nature Conservation Review. Surveys of Scottish sealochs: sealochs in the northern Firth of Clyde. (Contractor: University Marine Biological Station, Millport). , Peterborough, Nature Conservancy Council (CSD Report, No. 1147).
Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid
Millar, R.H., 1966. Tunicata Ascidiacea. Oslo, Universitetsforlaget.
This review can be cited as:
Last Updated: 13/11/2002