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Styela plicata
Image courtesy of Rosana M. Rocha, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR), Brazil
Styela plicata
Taxonomic Group: Tunicates


Styela plicata is a solitary tunicate with a thick, firm and lumpy tunic which is white or tan in color. Its native region is currently unknown, but evidence suggests that it is native to the Northwest Pacific. Having been transported by boats for a century or more, it is widely distributed globally and is an abundant component of fouling communities in subtropical waters. Its distribution spans the coasts of North America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, the Mediterranean, Senegal, Somalia, India, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It is largely found on man-made structures such as marinas, docks and vessel hulls, but is also known from oyster reefs, mangroves and rocky substrates. Styela plicata is highly abundant in harbors in Southern California and may impact native invertebrates by outcompeting them for resources. Further, in many parts of its global range, it is known to foul cultured bivalves.

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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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