Sea Pork, Aplidium californicum

Sea Pork (Aplidium californicum) is a species of sea squirt (tunicate) in the Polyclinidae family. It is quite common on the west coast of North America from British Columbia to Baja California, and the Galapagos Islands. It is found in the intertidal zone and at depths down to 280 feet.

This is a compound tunicate forming sheets, mounds, or slabs on rocks and other hard substrates. It is jelly-like in consistency, and is 0.4 to 1.2 inches thick. It is shiny yellow, orange, reddish-brown or a translucent white color. Individual zooids are brown or buff and less than a quarter inch in length. They are arranged in oval or elongate systems. Each zooid is divided into a thorax, abdomen and post-abdomen.

This tunicate, like others, is a filter feeder. Water is sucked into the interior of the organism through a siphon and then expelled through another. Phytoplankton and other small organisms become trapped in mucus threads secreted by the tunicate.

Image Caption: The tunicate Aplidium californicum syn Amaroucium californicum “This animal is actually a distant relative to humans in that the classification falls in the subphylum called Urochordata (Tunicates) which is a primitive Chordate. Common name is called Sea Pork.” Credit: jkirkhart35/Wikipedia(CC BY 2.0)