Enter the sea squirts

Researchers working off coastal Georgia have discovered what could be three new species of bottom-dwelling creatures known as sea squirts.

The diminutive creatures — also known as tunicates — were recently found at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, a reef 28km east of Georgia’s Sapelo Island.

Two of the sea squirts — one orange-coloured with vein-like designs running through it and another spherical with evenly spaced holes — are about 10cm in size. The third is about the size of a grape.

Marine biologist Danny Gleason of Georgia Southern University made the discovery, along with four of his students, but has turned to a tunicate expert to help determine whether the animals are truly new to science.

If that proves to be the case, Sanamyan will publish descriptions of the new animals and have the honour of bestowing their names on the creatures.


Gleason and the students came across the sea creatures over the summer while working under a special permit needed to collect invertebrates in the sanctuary.

“It’s amazing how little we know of the Earth,” he said. “I think that’s the great thing about science — you discover new things all the time.”

Tunicates are members of a broad class of living creatures called chordates that, at some time during their lifecycles, share physical features, including neural cords that run the length of their bodies.

Gleason and other Georgia Southern scientists have been collecting and photographing invertebrates at Gray’s Reef for an online field guide. So far, 350 specimens have been documented.

On the net:

Gray’s Reef

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

SA to US: Hurt us and it’ll hurt you

South Africa’s preferred trade status is likely to be removed, which means exports will cost more

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

More battles ahead for domestic worker unions

Florence Sosiba, speaks to the Mail & Guardian about how important domestic workers are and exclusion in the COIDA

“Life has been good to me, considering where I come from” – Xolani Gwala

Just over a year ago, veteran radio presenter Xolani Gwala’s cancer was in remission. He spoke to the Mail & Guardian once he was back on air.

Kanya Cekeshe’s lawyer appeals decision not to grant him bail to the high court

Kanya Cekeshe’s legal team filed an urgent appeal at the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday against Monday’s judgment by magistrate Theunis Carstens.

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Advertising

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday