Updated 25 May, 2013, 6:56 pm IST
Sunday September 18 08:47 am
Giant Pyrosome and Salps - pelagic sea squirts
Pyrosomes and salps are pelagic (free-swimming) tunicates or sea squirts. All species are open ocean animals that rarely come close to shore, and all are colonial, although many salps can also be solitary. Pyrosomes are colonies of tiny animals that form hollow tubes sealed at one end - the species in the first part of the video is giant pyrosome Pyrostremma spinosum - it can reach 30m in length! Salps have much larger individuals than pyrosomes, individuals pump water through themselves. Colonies are formed of chains of individuals. Salps can form very high densities under good conditions, and are an important oceanic food source for fish. These animals were filmed off the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania, Australia - one of the few areas in the world where a wide range of oceanic gelatinous plankton, including ctenophores and jellyfish, comes close to shore, and is easily seen while diving. Filmed by Michael Baron. All footage and images in this video are © Michael Baron, Eaglehawk Dive Centre, all rights reserved. No part of this video can be used in any way and/or in any form without written permission of the copyright owner.