Unknown Creature

Images: 
Oleta Park Beach unknown 00.jpg
Oleta Park Beach unknown 01.jpg
Oleta Park Beach unknown 02.jpg

Observed : Aug. 4th, 09 at Oleta River State Park (beach area) South FLorida. This is in salt water, there are some boulders along a sandy beach shore, in what can best be described as a tidal pool type environment.

The creature seemed to be weddeged under a boulder and the sand. The bolder itself was covered with Green Feather and other algae, and what appear to be numerous anemone tentacles of some kind. As can be seen in the picture I first noticed a boulbous mass with two opennings one larger and one smaller and when gently poked with a seaweed the openings could close and then open again with in seconds (though not super fast like say a feather duster worm retracting). Thus, my first guess was a tunicate, however in looking through the ID book I noticed that all the tunicates seem to have rather thin "walls" around their syphon openings and also seem to be more circular or barrell shaped around the opening. None, looked like the "muscular" looking opening of this creature. My pictured animal seems to have 4 muscular "finger-like" sections around the body They are realy pronounced in the 3rd picture where the openings were closed.

Another thought I had was, maybe it was part of the anemone or whatever tentacles can be seen in the pictures above it. But similar tentacles where on almost all the rocks in the area, so I don't think they are connected, but not sure.  I also thought it may be a retracted anemone, but the openings seemd clear of any tentacles inside.

Needles to say I'm stumped and very curious; I haven't been able to find anything quite like it. PLEASE HELP.

Thanks in advance,

Livan

A responce from a Professor

I recieved the following responce concerning this creature:

"The creature of interest in your photos is a tunicate, as suspected below by Prof. Sponaugle.  The common name of the group is "Sea Squirts".  Unfortunately, specific identification would require an examination of the specimen.

Sincerely,

Nancy Voss"

Research Professor Emeritus
Director of  the Marine Invertebrate Museum
RSMAS, University  of Miami
Miami. FL 33149, USA

 

Now, to me, just using sight it looks like it may be: The Pleated Tunicate (Styela plicata)

Agreeing with the Professor here

I'm going with the Professor here. Looks like a Sea Squirt to me.

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