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Styela clava

Styela clava

Folded sea-squirt

   Styela clava is a solitary ascidian of up to 12 cm high. It is club-shaped erected from a narrow stalk attached to the sustratum. The stalk size may be a third of the overall ascidian. The test is firm, leathery and wrinkled. Its colour is brown with white mottlings. Sometimes, algae or some invertebrates may fix and grow on it. The terminal siphons are close to each other. It lives in shallow water where water is warmer, in harbours, on piles, hulls or rocks and stones.
This species first appeared in the English Channel, in Plymouth in 1953 and quickly spread through the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and through the Atlantic Ocean toward Spain. Originated from North-Western Pacific, Japan and Korea, it was probably introduced in Europe during the Korean War attached to battleship-hulls. Since 1981, it was also described on the other side of the Atlantic.


 (source : European Register of Marine Species)

  • Chordata [Phylum]
  • Tunicata [Subphylum]
  • Ascidiacea [Class]
  • Stolidobranchia [Suborder]
  • Styelidae [Family]
  • Styela clava (Herdman, 1881)

Page glossary

Test : or tunic: thick layer secreted by the mantel containing cellulose and protecting the animal.

Styela clava. Styela clava
Young specimen.



Top photograph :
© Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat. Published with author's kind permission : 
Styela clava, Baie de Concarneau, South-Brittany, West of France. Depth 6 meters
Bottom photograph : © Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat. Published with author's kind permission : 
Styela clava, Young specimen.. Baie de Concarneau, South Brittany, West of France. Depth 6 meters.
Text :  Anne Bay-Nouailhat © 2006-2020.
Translation :  Anne Bay-Nouailhat © 2007-2020.

How to cite this page in publications

Bay-Nouailhat A., January 2006, Description of Styela clava, Available on line at http://www.european-marine-life.org/32/styela-clava.php, consulted on 10 July 2020.
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