Photo of the Week: Cyclosalpa affinis

Cyclosalpa affinis tunicate colony

DID YOU KNOW that the salp, while it looks like a jellyfish, is actually a tunicate, a member of the phylum Chordata, and is more closely related to vertebrates than it is to jellies?

DID YOU KNOW that the salp has two distinct life phases?

  1. Solitary: The animal is all on its own, and reproduces asexually by producing a chain of clones, and
  2. Aggregate: The chain of clones remain attached together as they swim, grow, and reproduce sexually, eventually creating more solitary salps.

DID YOU KNOW that salps do not sting?

DID YOU KNOW that salps live just about anywhere--in equatorial, temperate, and cold seas--and filter-feed on plankton?

Well, now you do! :)

Solitary Cyclosalpa affinis tunicate

Cyclosalpa affinis: solitary phase

Cyclosalpa affinis tunicate colony

Cyclosalpa affinis: aggregate phase


We spotted these (and many more) Cyclosalpa affinis salps while doing our decompression after diving the UB-88 submarine wreck.

All photos were shot with my Tokina AF 10-17mm Fisheye Lens using the following settings:

Featured Image:  f/16 at 1/125, ISO 160

Solitary salp: f/11 at 1/125, ISO 160

Aggregate salp chain: f/10 at 1/80, ISO 160


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