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Ciona robusta
Image courtesy of Melissa Frey, Royal BC Museum, Canada
Ciona robusta
Taxonomic Group: Tunicates


Ciona robusta is a solitary tunicate with an elongated, cylindrical or vase-shaped body. Although previously considered to be C. intestinalis, recent morphological, ecological, and genomic data indicate that C. robusta is a distinct and separate species. It appears to be native to the Northwest Pacific, but further study is needed to determine its true native range. It is considered to be introduced to the West coast of North America, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South America (on both coasts), South Africa and Europe. It is a widespread and abundant fouling organism in harbors and on man-made structures such as docks, pilings, boats and aquaculture gear. It is a gregarious species and may have negative economic impacts on aquaculture operations by reducing the growth of cultured shellfish and fouling ropes and equipment. 

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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