Botrylloides perspicuus

Botrylloides perspicuus

Size: Colonies to 30 cm

Distribution: All SA coastal and gulf waters

Habitat: Rocky reef, jetty pylons and seagrass beds

Depth: Subtidal

Botrylloides perspicuus

This colonial ascidian attaches to rock, but also algae and sea grass. Because of this, it is by far the most common botrylloid ascidian to wash up on SA beaches. Colonies consist of fingers or elephant-ear lobes of mostly transparent test, with scattered systems made of elongated rings or meandering double lines of zooids. The colony shape helps to distinguish this species from Botrylloides leachii, and the lack of a large terminal aperture differentiates it from Botrylloides anceps. In addition, the longer circular systems help to distinguish this species from Botryllus schlosseri with its compact start-shaped systems, and although that species can also attach to algae, it is usually an encrusting sheet around the stem or leaves, and not the lobed form of B. perspicuus.