Salpa fusiformis | Salps
Salp is the name given to a set of planktonic species of tunicates of the Salpidae family, characterized by gelatinous bodies of cylindrical shape. These bodies move longitudinally, pumping the water through their bodies while filtering with a set of internal lamellar structures which retain plankton, its only known food. Salps are common in most oceans, occuring surface waters of equatorial, subtropical, temperate and cold waters, both as isolated individuals or colonies that consist of long linear chains of connected individuals. Their life cycle has mandatory alternating forms between generations. They are sequential hermaphrodites, initially maturing as females, and then fertilized by male gametes produced by older chains. Both life cycle forms co-exist in seawater, and although they appear very different, both are generally transparent, tubular, soft, with dimensions which are usually between 1 and 10 cm long. The solitary forms, known as “oozóides” are small barrel-shaped animals that reproduce asexually, producing a chain of tens to hundreds of individuals released from the parent as submicroscopic beings. This species can often be confused with Salpa aspera. May be seen in the Azores, in significant quantities.
Length: 1- 10 cm
Diet: Plankton and other small particles
Reproduction: Sexual (hermaphrodites)
Conservation Status: There is not concern for this species
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