Pyura stolonifera Click to enlarge image
Cunjevoi, Pyura stolonifera Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    stolonifera
    Genus
    Pyura
    Family
    Pyuridae
    Suborder
    Stolidobranchia
    Class
    Ascidacea
    Subphylum
    Tunicata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    30 cm

Introduction

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

Identification

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

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 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.