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You are here:   OldClasses > 2012 > Pyura sp. | Gillian Backhouse



Pyura sp.

Gillian Backhouse (2012)



Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Life History & Behaviour

Anatomy & Physiology

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

Conservation & Threats

References & Links


Pyura sp is a solitary ascidian species that lives on the underside of coral rubble on the reef crest. This animal is covered in a thick leathery tunic which appears brown due to the epibionts growing on it. This species is a filter feeder and has two siphons (inhalant and exhalant) to allow the flow of water through its pharynx which filters out food particles. Asidians have a pelago-benthic lifecycle with free swimming tadpole larvae which settle and metamorphose into a sessile adult.

Figure 1. Pyura sp attached to a section of coral rubble collected from the reef crest at Heron Island

The basic biology and ecology of this species of ascidian was studied on Heron Island with a focus on the effect of suspended sediment on feeding efficiency. It was found that Pyura sp changed its feeding behaviour in response to suspended sediment, closing its siphons and possibly squirting out water. This study can be found under conservation and threats.