Tiger Tunicate - Botrylloides sp.
The Tiger Tunicate (Botrylloides sp.) is an oddity. It is an encrusting tunicate that resembles some corals like the Moon Corals (Favia sp., Favites sp.) but often has bright, contrasting colors with the base color, outside of the rings and centers of the rings, or the colony may be a solid color. No two are truly alike and the tunicate you receive may vary from the one pictured here.
Tunicates, Sea Squirts and Sea Pork appear to be simple organisms but are actually Chordates, the same scientific classification includes all vertebrates (animals with backbones). These animals are extremely proficient filter feeders. A single tunicate can filter thousands of gallons a day and can extract almost all bacteria and plankton from the water to feed on as it filters. They need an almost constant food source to avoid starvation.
These animals are known as "sea squirts" because most will squirt water from their openings if threatened. Most tunicates have two main openings, one to "inhale" water and the other to "exhale". There are well over 1,000 species of tunicates and it can be difficult or impossible to tell the exact species of some individuals. Color, size and shape can vary on many species. Some of the larger tunicates may be collected for sale in the aquarium trade while other smaller species may come in as "hitchhikers" on liverock or corals.
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|Common Name||Tiger Tunicate|
|Scientific Name||Botrylloides sp.|
|Difficulty||Moderate to High|
|Min Tank Size (in gallons)||20|
|Specific Gravity Range||1.022-1.026|
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