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Ascidiella aspersa
Image courtesy of Andy Cowley (
Ascidiella aspersa
Taxonomic Group: Tunicates


Ascidiella aspersa is a solitary tunicate that is oval-shaped and gray, black or brownish in color. It was first described from the Adriatic Sea in 1776 and is native to Europe from southern Norway to the Mediterranean. It has been introduced to the East coast of the United States, Argentina, South Africa, India, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It is common in fouling communities and has likely spread around the world as fouling on ship hulls. There are few reported impacts in its invaded range, but A. aspersa can foul aquaculture gear and compete with native species 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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