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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Sea Tulip Pyura spinifera

This giant sea squirt is held up into the water on the end of a long, thin stalk. This means that its large inhalent siphon is in a better position to pull in plankton-rich water. The sea tulip’s body is covered in warty outgrowths and is naturally a bright yellow. However, the growth of an encrusting commensal sponge on many of these sea squirts gives them a pink appearance. During rough weather, sea tulips are often battered down onto the seabed, but they soon spring back on their flexible stalks.

Sea Tulipzoom image
  • Subphylum Urochordata
  • Height Up to 12 in (30 cm)
  • Depth 15–200 ft (5–60 m)
  • Habitat Rocky reefs
  • Distribution Temperate waters of Australia
Sea Tulip habitat mapzoom image