Sea Squirt (Football)
The Football Sea Squirt is a milky white transparent-looking sea creature that can be found in England on the south coast of Devon. It has its name because it lives in a colony which takes the shape of a football and it can also squirt water out of its body. It can be found in clear waters as deep as twenty to two hundred metres where it attaches itself onto large stable rocks.
The Football Sea Squirt colony is made up of lots of individual ‘zooids’ which are living organisms closely linked together and attached to a common base mass. An individual zooid takes the form of a ‘U’ shaped tube which is surrounded by a tough, gelatinous tunic for protection. The ‘U’ shaped zooid has two openings. One of the openings takes water in, while the other opening squirts water out, but if the Football Sea Squirt feels threatened or if it is disturbed, it can contract its body and squirt water out of both tubes. A colony of zooids can grow up ten to forty centimetres in diameter.
The larvae of the Football Sea Squirt are often called ‘tadpoles’ and when they first hatch out of the eggs they swim upwards towards the light. Eventually they settle back into the darkness of the seabed where they develop into adult Football Sea Squirts.