Pyura tasmanensis Kott, 1985

Kott, Patricia, 2006, Observations on non-didemnid ascidians from Australian waters (1), Journal of Natural History 40 (3 - 4), pp. 169-234: 224-226

publication ID 10.1080/00222930600621601

persistent identifier

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scientific name

Pyura tasmanensis Kott, 1985


Pyura tasmanensis Kott, 1985  

Pyura tasmanensis Kott 1985, p 331   .


Previously recorded (see Kott 1985): Tasmania (Ralph’s Bay, Roches Beach , Tasman Head , Port Davey ). New records: Tasmania ( Port Davey , 3–25 m, SAM E2875 View Materials ; Tasmanian Canyons (Big Horseshoe—Broken Reef, 115 m ))   .


The newly recorded specimens do not appear to be in aggregates. In preservation both specimens are almost spherical with a wrinkled test. Apertures are close together on the upper surface, although the dorsal lamina is moderately long. Branchial tentacles usually are long, with short primary and smaller secondary and tertiary branches, although the specimen from the Tasmanian Canyons has short, inconspicuous tentacles without secondary or tertiary branches. Siphons are lined with long overlapping siphonal spines. Six folds are on each side of the branchial sac with up to 28 internal longitudinal vessels per fold and up to 12 between. Crowded endocarps are on the descending limb of the gut loop and on the gonads. A conspicuous green liver diverticulum branches off the gut in the pyloric region. Each of the two lips of the anal border is divided into two.


The species is distinguished from P. stolonifera   by its long dorsal lamina and the more numerous internal longitudinal vessels between the folds. The siphonal spines of P. stolonifera   are seldom more than 0.1 mm long, while those of P. tasmanensis   sometimes are as much as 0.2 mm (see Kott 1985) and the gut loop of the latter species has a narrower curved gut loop with up to 15 pairs of polycarp sacs. Pyura stolonifera   has a more open gut loop with only about eight pairs of hermaphrodite gonads.

Hartmeyeria formosa Herdman, 1882  

Cynthia formosa Herdman 1882, p 139   .

Hartmeyeria formosa: Kott 1985, p 363   and synonymy.


Previously recorded (see Kott 1985): Victoria (Bass Strait, Port Phillip Bay ); New South Wales ( Port Jackson ); Queensland ( Moreton Bay , Gladstone , Abbot Point , Townsville , Mossman ); Torres Strait. New record: Queensland (15.245 ° S, 145.375 ° E, 23 m; 16.705 ° S, 146.125 ° E, 34 m; 18.94 ° S, 146.365 ° E, 8 m) GoogleMaps   .


The newly recorded specimens are within the geographic range previously recorded for this species from Torres Strait in the north to Bass Strait in the south along the eastern coast. They are small and only one has been taken from each location. As previously reported, the specimens are top-shaped with the test produced into branched papillae that are longer anteriorly, sometimes forming a ring of bristles around each aperture. The six wide branchial folds on each side and the long, flat dorsal lamina with a fringe of papillae on the edge are as previously described (see Kott 1985).

Hartmeyeria psammiferus (Monniot et al., 2001)   , as Microcosmus psammiferus   in Monniot et al. 2001, from South Africa, has gut loop and gonads arranged as in the present species. The spines in the outer part of the siphons also may be similar to those of the present species, although this is difficult to determine as their bases cannot be seen in the scanning electron micrographs (which obscure the base of the spines) of Monniot et al. (2001, Figure 51B, C: Microcosmus psammophorus   sic!). However the urn-shaped spicules at the base of the siphons have not been detected in H. formosa   . Further, the dorsal lamina of the latter species is fringed with tongue-shaped lobes that are not present in the South African species (which has irregular indentations) and the species appear to be distinct. Nevertheless, they appear to be congeneric. In both species, as in others in this genus, the branchial sac has six folds on each side and the second most dorsal folds on each side are significantly narrower than the others. Monniot et al. (2001) appear to have overlooked the fact that H. formosa   has a stalk when suggesting that the absence of a stalk separated it from the genus Hartmeyeria   . The absence of a stalk from H. psammiferus   (which has all the other generic characters of the genus and is similar to H. formosa   in so many characters) suggests that the presence or absence of a stalk may not always be significant at the generic level.

Herdmania grandis ( Heller, 1878)  

Cynthia grandis Heller 1878, p 15   .

Herdmania grandis: Kott 2002, p 363   View Cited Treatment and synonymy.


Previously recorded (see Kott 2002): Western Australia (Geraldton to Albany); South Australia (Gulf St Vincent); Tasmania (Burnie); Victoria (Bass Strait); New South Wales ( South Ulladulla , Wollongong, Shell Harbour, Arrawarra, Byron Bay ); Queensland (Tweed River, Moreton Bay, Mooloolaba, off Murdoch Point, Cairns); Papua New Guinea. New records: Tasmania (Bass Strait; King I. Canyon, 348 m, QM G308809; Banks Strait, 168 m); Queensland (benthic fauna, 14.705 –18.655 ° S, 145.375– 147.075 ° E, 11–69 m) GoogleMaps   .


A large specimen newly recorded from King I. Canyon has an opaque, leathery but flexible test with fine horizontal wrinkles and some irregular tags and processes on the lower half of a turnip-shaped body. The body wall is translucent despite the strong muscles that extend down each side to the endostyle. A horizontal S-shaped slit is on the dorsal tubercle with both horns turned in. Seven branchial folds are on each side. The atrial velum is divided into 16 rounded lappets. The gut loop is only slightly curved and compact clumps of liver lobes are on the gut loop. A long endocarp is on each side of the body, the one on the left curving around the ventral mid-line and covering the descending limb of the gut loop. Clumps of male follicles surround the ovarian tube. The male duct opens on a short projection from the surface of the distal end of the oviduct just behind the simple, sessile oviducal opening. The anal opening is bilabiate, and the margin of each lip is divided into conspicuous rounded lobes.

This specimen differs from others of this species in the absence of languets on the dorsal lamina and the relatively few branchial folds. These differences may be the result of isolation from other temperate populations; or it may be an aberrant individual. Smaller cushion-like specimens to about 2 cm long from Banks Strait and Bass Strait have the usual complex, convoluted slit on the dorsal tubercle. Up to 30 small specimens of the present species to 1–3 cm but occasionally to 6 cm occur at over 25% of the 88 benthic locations sampled on the continental shelf of north-eastern Queensland. Although gonads are not always present, these specimens have gonoducal openings, lobed anal border, and the numerous branchial folds characteristic of H. grandis   .


The large number of small specimens taken from the northeastern Queensland continental shelf in September and October 2003 suggest that the species may dominate the benthic communities there; and that settlement takes place in autumn in these waters. Although some variation is apparent in the number of branchial folds, the relatively straight ovarian tube, simple gonoducal openings that lack of associated membranes from the body wall, the lobed anal border, and the long muscles that extend over the whole body wall are consistent characters defining the species.


South African Museum


Queensland Museum














Pyura tasmanensis Kott, 1985

Kott, Patricia 2006

Herdmania grandis: Kott 2002 , p 363

Kott P 2002: 363

Pyura tasmanensis

Kott P 1985: 331

Hartmeyeria formosa: Kott 1985 , p 363

Kott P 1985: 363

Cynthia formosa

Herdman WA 1882: 139

Cynthia grandis

Heller C 1878: 15