Home >  Fauna and flora >  Tunicate photo gallery >  Thetys vagina
Thetys vagina

Thetys vagina


   Thetys vagina is a thaliacea of up to 30 cm long. Like many other Thaliacea, it is pelagic and has two forms: an asexual solitary form, the oozooid, which buds and develop into a colony of sexual individuals, the blastozooids. Thetys vagina is oblong and the two siphons are opposite, at each end of the body. The oral siphon is broad. The atrial siphon is framed by a pair of long dark outgrowths which are absent in the colonial form. Through the translucent body, muscular bands and a dark round spot formed by the gut and called the nucleus, are clearly visible. Muscular bands ensure locomotion and food (phytoplankton) entry by pumping water in. Solitary animals possess 20 muscular bands that uncompletely surround the body whereas colonial individuals have only 5 muscular bands (see photograph showing a blastozooid separated from the rest of the colony). Colonies are composed of an aggregate of individuals organized in a double-chain of sometimes several meters long.
This is a cosmopolitan pelagic species that can be encountered from surface to 150 meters deep in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.


 (source : European Register of Marine Species)

  • Chordata [Phylum]
  • Tunicata [Subphylum]
  • Thaliacea [Class]
  • Salpida [Order]
  • Salpidae [Family]
  • Thetys vagina Tilesius, 1802

Page glossary

Oral siphon : Opening by which water is drawn in the ascidian.
Atrial siphon : Opening through which water is expelled.

Thetys vagina. Thetys vagina
Solitary asexual specimen



Top photograph :
© Pascale Sentenac. Published with author's kind permission : 
Thetys vagina, blastozoïde separated from the colony, Port Cros, South of France. Depth 20 meters.
Bottom photograph : © Graham Owens. Published with author's kind permission : 
Thetys vagina, Solitary asexual specimen. Garachico, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Depth 20 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 Thetys vagina, Available on line at http://www.european-marine-life.org/32/thetys-vagina.php, consulted on 10 July 2020.
Also consult : Terms of use and copyrights

Home |  Site map |  Goodies |  Terms of use |  Support us |  Contact