Animal Species:Cunjevoi

The Cunjevoi is a sea squirt found around the edge of the low-tide mark that often forms mats over the rocks.

Cunjevoi Pyura stolonifera

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Cunjevoi

Alternative Name/s

Sea Squirt

Identification

The Cunjevoi is sometimes covered in green or brown algae and has a tough brown exterior or 'tunic'.

Size range

30 cm

Habitat

Cunjevois live on intertidal rocky shores.

Feeding and Diet

During high tide, the Cunjevoi feeds on plankton as water is pumped in and out of its siphons.

Other behaviours and adaptations

As the tide recedes, the Cunjevoi holds water to keep from drying out and, like all sea squirts, squirts a jet of water like a water pistol when squeezed or trodden on at low tide.

Economic/social impacts

Cunjevoi is an Aboriginal name and the animals were once a common food source for Sydney's Aboriginal people. Today, the Cunjevoi is popularly used as fishing bait. People cut the Cunjevoi, scoop out its soft insides and leave the hard tunic attached to the rock. However, the Cunjevoi is a protected species in some parts (marine reserves) of Sydney Harbour.

Classification

Species:
stolonifera
Genus:
Pyura
Family:
Pyuridae
Suborder:
Stolidobranchia
Class:
Ascidacea
Subphylum:
Tunicata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags sea squirts, tunicates, invertebrates, wildlife of sydney, identification,