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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.

Warning

This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.

Contents


FIRE SALP

(Pyrosoma).

This large planktonic organism is closely related to the chainjellies. In appearance it is like a rough leathery cylinder, brownish in colour and semitransparent, and up to about 10 in. in length, though tropical species as long as 4 ft have been reported. In reality a single Pyrosoma is not one individual but a colony of animals sharing a common alimentary canal. Its most interesting feature is its luminescence at night, particularly when disturbed, as, for instance, by the passage of a ship. One observer reports writing his name in letters of fire on the skin of a Pyrosoma, merely by tracing the letters with his finger.

by Richard Morrison Cassie, M.SC.(N.Z.), D.SC.(AUCK.), Senior Lecturer in Zoology, University of Auckland.

Co-creator

Richard Morrison Cassie, M.SC.(N.Z.), D.SC.(AUCK.), Senior Lecturer in Zoology, University of Auckland.

Last updated 23-Apr-09