Fast Facts: Sea Tulips

  • Grows from rocks;
  • Comes in a variety of colours such as orange, purple, yellow or pink;
  • It’s colours are formed from an encrusting sponge, which covers its surface;
  • Found in coastal waters to a depth of 80 m;
  • Is unable to move around, therefore, it waits for the currents to bring food to it;
  • Like all sea squirts, it is a filter feeder, pumping water in and out of its siphons and extracting the plankton;
  • This filter feeding habit allows adult ascidians to accumulate pollutants, so by observing ascidian populations, we can get a good indication of pollution levels of the environment;
  • In the relationship between the Sea Tulip and the encrusting sponge, the Sea Tulip gains protection from predators by using the sponge’s defence, and the sponge benefits by having a surface on which to grow;
  • Are named for their flower-like appearance and stalked bodies;
  • Sea Squirts and Sea Tulips are collectively known as ascidians;
  • Ascidians are the evolutionary link between invertebrates and vertebrates;
  • Ascidians are an invertebrate with some primitive vertebrate features, such as a primitive backbone during a stage in their life cycle.


Published by Karina Teuma Karina Teuma is a Passionate Marine Biology Enthusiast, Environmentalist, Snorkeller, Freediver, Scuba Diver and more.

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