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Family: Pyuridae

Group: Marine Invertebrate, Species

Scientific NameCommon NameSummary
Boltenia echinataSpiny-tipped tunicateThis species' primary character is the presence of forked hairs on the "spines."
Boltenia villosaSpiny-headed tunicateA consensus common name for this species seems to be "hairy tunicate," but it isn't really any hairier than several other common species. But the name "Spiny-headed tunicate" used in O'Clair & O'Clair 1998 and other publications seems much more apt. The extended "peduncle" of the species, its reddish color, and the hairy "spines" of the globulous head make this tunicate a cute species in a Japanese cartoon sort of way, if there ever was a cute tunicate. This species can be found at low tide, but is more easily found by inspecting colonies of tubeworms that grow on submerged man-made structures.
Halocynthia aurantiumSea peachThis tunicate species is quite beautiful, and often four inches long. It is rarely found at negative tides, but is fairly common in deeper waters. A similar species, Broadbase tunicate (Cnemidocarpa finmarkiensis), is rather dome-like, with a wide base.
Halocynthia igabojaSea HedgehogThe bristly tunicate is easily recognized by its dense covering of brown "hair" (spines), which isn't limited to the siphons or body. Warty tunicate (Pyura haustor) doesn't have hair on the siphons which are longer and paler, and Halocynthia hilgendorfi, which is sometimes synonymized and appears to be a Western Pacific species, doesn't have hair on its body. It is extremely cryptic, especially when the siphons are closed.
Pyura haustorWarty tunicateThis common tunicate looks most like Sea Hedgehog (Halocynthia igaboja), but its siphons are longer, and generally paler and less "hairy." It is found intertidally, subtidally, and on floating man-made structures. This species is often covered by other sealife, making only the pink or red ends of the siphons visible, but it sometimes is found without sea life on it. The siphons are often quite long, and can be longer than the width of the body of the tunicate. The "skin" is described by Van Name (1945) as "tough and rather hard, usually discolored with mud and often completely encrusted, except toward the ends of the siphons, with sand, small stones, debris, or growth of hydroids or other organisms. [The test] is often raised into high, sharply defined ridges which meet and cross each other in various directions or may in some cases run roughly parallel."