Story: Marine animals without backbones

Salp chain

This video shows a fire salp colony in New Zealand waters in late summer. Hollow, tubular fire salps are the largest creatures in the plankton, and form chains up to 20 metres long. This colony consists of millions of individuals embedded in a common gelatinous covering known as a tunic. Salps grow rapidly when there is an abundance of animal plankton for them to eat. In turn, they are consumed by fish and seabirds.

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How to cite this page:

Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff, 'Marine animals without backbones - Tunicates: sea squirts, salps and appendicularians', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/5871/salp-chain (accessed 16 November 2019)

Story by Dennis Gordon and Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006