NEMESIS Bioregion Distribution:


Native  Introduced  Cryptogenic  Failed


First Non-native North American Marine/Estuarine Record: 2000
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Marine/Estuarine Record: 2000



General Invasion History:

Diplosoma aff. spongiforme is native to the Northeast Atlantic from Scotland south to the Atlantic coast of Spain and the Mediterranean Sea (Hayward et al. 1990; Turon and Bercerro 1992; Vazquez et al. 1994). In 2002, a colonial tunicate closely resembling D. aff. spongiforme was found on Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) fouling plates in Tampa Bay and Miami Harbor (Gretchen Lambert, personal communication; Ruiz et al., unpublished data). In 2007, the same form was found on fouling plates in Puerto Rico (Ruiz et al., unpublished). Similar spongiforme-like tunicates have been reported from the Currais Islands, Parana, Brazil by da Rocha and de Faria (2007), and from the Hawaiian islands (Pearl Harbor and Keehi Lagoon, Oahu) (Coles et al. 2009, cited by Carlton and Eldredge 2015). However, detailed comparisons of the Brazil, Florida, Puerto Rico, and European tunicates have not been made.

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the East Coast:

A colonial tunicate closely resembling Diplosoma aff. spongiforme was found on fouling plates in Miami Harbor, Florida in 2002 (Gretchen Lambert, personal communication; Ruiz et al., unpublished data). The fouling plates were part of a survey conducted by the Marine Invasions Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC).

Invasion History on the Gulf Coast:

A colonial tunicate closely resembling Diplosoma aff. spongiforme was found on fouling plates in Tampa Bay, Florida in 2002 (Gretchen Lambert, personal communication; Ruiz et al., unpublished data). 

Invasion History in Hawaii:

Diplosoma aff. spongiforme was found in 2008 in Pearl Harbor and Ke‘ehi Lagoon on Oahu (Coles et al. 2009, cited by Carlton and Eldredge 2015).