Project Description

During a dive at Mackenzie Bight I noticed this unusual looking warty tunicate (Pyura haustor) at the peak of a small rock.  At the time I really wasn’t sure what kind of tunicate I had photographed, and later had trouble with the identification.  Fortunately, a very helpful marine life expert provided an explanation.

Gretchen Lambert is a west coast expert on tunicates and her best guess based on the photo …

“It could be Pyura haustor, the tunic looks right. Notice the siphons are ringed by minute spines. The shallow specimens always have red siphons, however. But if your photo was taken during a scuba dive, sometimes the deeper water specimens have more colorless siphon lining.”

Warty tunicates can grow to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall, with a range from northern Alaska to southern California.