Microcosmus sabatieri

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Microcosmus sabatieri
Inhalant siphon of Microcosmos sabatieri. The yellow feature at the left is a clutch of mollusk eggs.
Inhalant siphon of Microcosmos sabatieri. The yellow feature at the left is a clutch of mollusk eggs.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Tunicata
Class: Ascidiacea
Order: Stolidobranchia
Family: Pyuridae
Genus: Microcosmus
Species: M. sabatieri
Binomial name
Microcosmus sabatieri
(Roule, 1885)

Microcosmus sabatieri, commonly called the grooved sea squirt,[2] sea fig,[3] or violet,[3] is a species of tunicates (sea squirts). The species has a rocky-shape appearance. It is mainly found in the Mediterranean Sea.[4] It is used as food in parts of Europe.[2]


All species of Microcosmus are edible, but it is mainly M. sabatieri which is marketed.[citation needed] In the Mediterranean Basin, it is eaten raw, often with an acidic condiment such as lemon juice or vinegar with shallots.[citation needed] It has a strong iodine taste which not all appreciate.[citation needed]


The specific epithet sabatieri is in honor of zoologist Armand Sabatier.[3] The name 'violet' is from the distinguishing violet stripes on the siphon.[3]

The species has many common names. In Dutch it is violet-zakpijp (lit. violet pocket-pipe)[2] or begroeide zakpijp (overgrown pocket-pipe).[3] In French it's violet,[2][3] figue de mer (lit. sea fig),[3] and in Marseille, patate de mer (lit. sea potato),[3] or vioulé.[3] In the Catalan language it's called biju or bijut (jewel).[3] In German they use seefeige (lit. sea fig)[2] or eßbare seescheide (edible sea sheath).[3] It is Φούσκα (foúska, lit. bubble or puff) in Greek.[4] In Italian, limone di mare (sea lemon) or uova di mare (sea egg) are used.[3] Names in Spanish include provecho (profit), patatas de mar (sea potatoes), and buñuelo de mar (sea fritter).[3] In Ligurian it can be called strunsi di mare (sea turds).[3]

Other names it is sold under include:

Note that plants of the genus Carpobrotus are also known as 'sea figs'.[5]



  1. ^ Shenkar, N.; Gittenberger, A.; Lambert, G.; Rius, M.; Moreira Da Rocha, R.; Swalla, B.J.; Turon, X. (2018). Ascidiacea World Database. Microcosmus sabatieri Roule, 1885. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=103844 on 2018-02-13
  2. ^ a b c d e Beleidsinformerende Nota: Wetenschappelijke en handelsbenamingen voor visserij- en aquacultuurproducten op de Belgische markt (PDF) (in Dutch). Oostende: Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee. 12 October 2016. ISBN 978-94-92043-42-9. ISSN 2295-7464. Retrieved 13 February 2018. Microcosmus sabatieri violet-zakpijp violet Seefeige grooved sea squirt
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Ader, Denis; André, Frédéric; Huet, Sylvie (7 August 2016). "Microcosmus sabatieri". Données d'Observations pour la Reconnaissance et l'Identification de la faune et la flore Subaquatiques (in Français). Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b Sanamyan, Karen; de Jong, Y. (5 December 2007). "Microcosmus sabatieri Roule, 1885". Pan-European Species directories Infrastructure. Retrieved 13 February 2018. Vernaculars (-) Greek: Φούσκα
  5. ^ "Sea figs Genus Carpobrotus". iNaturalist. San Francisco. Retrieved 13 February 2018.

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