Botrylloides leachi Click to enlarge image
Dark Ascidian, Botrylloides leachi Image: Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparenc
© Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    leachii
    Genus
    Botrylloides
    Subfamily
    Botryllinae
    Family
    Styelidae
    Suborder
    Stolidobranchia
    Class
    Ascidiacea
    Subphylum
    Tunicata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    5 cm

Introduction

This species has been given many scientific names in the past. Because it is so variable in size, shape and colour, scientists classified it as many different species only to find they were all the same.

Identification

The Dark Ascidian may sometimes be difficult to distinguish from encrusting sponges in Sydney as they are both found in similar habitats.

Habitat

The Dark Ascidian is found in coastal waters to a depth of 25 m. The Dark Ascidian is a common species, occurring on seaweeds on the lower shore and in shallow water.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Dark Ascidian is an example of a colonial ascidian, meaning that many individual animals live together embedded in a jelly-like substance. Each individual in the colony has its own intake siphon for feeding, but several individuals may combine to share one exit siphon.