Salpa fusiformis


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Cosmopolitan, with the widest distribution of all species of salp, occurs from 50° N and 45° S in the Pacific Ocean and from 70° N and 45° S in the Atlantic Ocean.
Occurs from the surface to ca. 800 m and will perform diel vertical migrations.
Aggregate generation: to 80 mm; solitary generation: to 80 mm
Filter feeders; phytoplankton and other small particles.
Medusae, siphonophores, ctenophores, heteropods, sea turtles, marine birds and many fish.
Useful Facts or Characters: 

The aggregate generation has body muscle bands 1-4 and 5-6 that fuse dorsally.  In some cases, body muscle bands 4-5 are fused laterally.  The aggregate zooid possesses long fusiform anterior and posterior projections and a smooth thick tunic.  The solitary generation also has a smooth thick tunic, and body muscle bands 1-3 meet dorsally, and 8-9 are strongly fused.

This species can often be confused with Salpa aspera.  S. fusiformis possesses less muscle fibers within the body muscle bands and a smooth tunic.

Natural History: 

High density swarms have been reported for this species. 


video source:

Bone, Q. (1998) The biology of pelagic tunicates. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Foxton, P. (1961) Salpa fusiformis Cuvier and related species. Discovery Reports 32:1-32.

van Soest, R.W.M. (1974) A revision of the genera Salpa Forskal, 1775, Pegea Savigny, 1816, and Ritteriella Metcalf, 1919 (Tunicata, Thaliacea). Beaufortia 22: 153-191.

Wrobel, D. and Mills, C. (1998) Pacific Coast pelagic invertebrates:  a guide to the common gelatinous animals. Sea Challengers, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA.

Yount, J.L. (1954) The taxonomy of the Salpidae (Tunicata) of the central Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 8: 276-330.