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Diplosoma listerianum
Image courtesy of Melissa Frey, Royal BC Museum, Canada
Diplosoma listerianum
Taxonomic Group: Tunicates


Diplosoma listerianum is a colonial tunicate that forms extensive thin encrusting sheets.  It was first described from the English Channel in 1841 by Milne-Edwards, but similar species were subsequently found and given many different names around the world, most of which were eventually reduced to synonyms. However, D. 'listerianum' is almost certainly a global complex of an unknown number of different species, to which some of these submerged names may apply. Because of this confusion, and the fact that it was already established in much of its range when researchers began surveying for tunicates, we consider it cryptogenic (of unknown origin) in many regions where it is present. However, it appears to be a definite introduction to the Northeast Pacific (British Columbia to California), the Northwest Atlantic (Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina), Hawaii, New Zealand, and South Africa.  Diplosoma listerianum can foul cultured shellfish and aquaculture equipment, and outcompete other colonial tunicates and benthic invertebrates for space.

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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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