First Non-native North American Marine/Estuarine Record: 1999
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Marine/Estuarine Record: 1999
The origin of Didemnum perlucidum is unknown. It was first described in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean (Monniot 1983), but was subsequently found in Brazil, West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Indo-Pacific, including Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal (da Rocha and Kremer 2005). We consider this tunicate to be cryptogenic (status unknown) over much of its range, but there are several recent occurrences in harbors or on man-made structures where it is known to be introduced. These include the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, and the Pacific Coast of Panama (Godwin and Lambert 2000; Lambert 2002; Carman et al. 2010).
Didemnum perlucidum colonies were tentatively identified in surveys by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Invasions Lab in Miami Harbor (in 2004) and the Indian River Lagoon, Florida (in 2005 and 2010) (Ruiz et al. unpublished data). Some of these colonies were young or in poor condition, but it does appear that it is established in US waters, although the extent of its introduction and abundance is unclear.
In 1999, Didemnum perlucidum was found on an abandoned oil platform/artificial reef off the coast of Texas (Culbertson and Harper 2001; Lambert 2002) and was tentatively identified by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Invasions Lab in Pensacola Bay (in 2002) (Ruiz et al. unpublished data).
Populations of Didemnum perlucidum, confined to harbors and artificial structures, were reported in 1999 from Ke'ehi Lagoon and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (Godwin and Lambert 2000; Coles et al., 2002).
Didemnum perlucidum was first described from the undersides of buoys in a marina on Guadeloupe, in the West Indies by Francoise Monniot (in 1983). It was latter found in Sao Sebastiao Channel, southern Brazil (in 1994) and Pelican Cay, Belize (in 1992, Goodbody 2000). In 2009, it was found in Pecem and Mucuripe Harbors, Ceara state, in northern Brazil (Oliveira Filho and Lotufo 2010) and Isla Margarita, Venezuela (da Rocha et al. 2010).
In the eastern Atlantic it was collected in 1990 off Dakar, Senegal on Madeline Island (Monniot and Monniot 1994).
In the Indo-Pacific, it was collected in harbors in Zanzibar and Tanzania (Monniot and Monniot 1997), the Maldives, Indonesia, the Philippines (Monniot and Monniot 2001), and New Caledonia (Monniot and Monniot 1996). Among the Pacific islands, populations confined to harbors and artificial structures occur in Palau and Guam (Lambert 2002; Lambert 2003), Hawaii (as mentioned above), and Papeete, Tahiti (Monniot et al. 1985).
In the eastern Pacific, D. perlucidum was reported from natural rock wall communities and fouling plates in the Galapagos Islands (Witman and Smith 2003; Lambert 2019) and from Panama Bay, near the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal (in 2008, Ruiz et al., unpublished data; Carman et al. 2010).