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 Clavelina lepadiformis is a colonial sea squirt that grows up to 20 mm high. Groups of transparent zooids are joined at the base by short stolons. Eggs and larvae vary in colour and are visible in the atrial cavity. In the Mediterranean the eggs and embryos are most often yellowish white and sometime pink (X. Turon, pers. comm.) although in other areas in NW Europe they can also be red (Fish & Fish, 1996). Zooids possess a white ring around the pharynx, and have pale yellow or white longitudinal lines along the endostyle and dorsal lamina, which gives this species its 'light-bulb' appearance. In some areas colonies regress in winter and re-grow in spring although in the Mediterranean this may not be the case. De Caralt et al. (2002) looked at the differences in Clavelina lepadiformis between populations inside and outside of harbours and found that the population inside the harbour remained all year (albeit often at very low abundances). In contrast, the population in a rocky littoral area outside the harbour aestivated (regressed) for up to 7 months over the summer period (De Caralt et al., 2002).The light bulb sea squirt attaches itself to rocks, stones and seaweed in the sublittoral, down to a depth of about 50 m. Individual zooids are small in spring growing to full size by about the end of May in Britain.


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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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