Polycarpa aurata

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Polycarpa aurata
Polycarpa Nick Hobgood.jpg
Polycarpa aurata, purple and yellow variant
Nudibranch (Nembrotha lineolata) laying an egg spiral on a Polycarpa aurata off the coast of Metinaro, East Timor.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Tunicata
Class: Ascidiacea
Order: Stolidobranchia
Family: Styelidae
Genus: Polycarpa
Species: P. aurata
Binomial name
Polycarpa aurata
(Quoy & Gaimard, 1834)[1]
  • Ascidia aurata Quoy & Gaimard, 1834
  • Pandocia aurata (Quoy & Gaimard, 1834)
  • Pandocia botryllifera Michaelsen, 1912
  • Pandocia pizoni Hartmeyer, 1909
  • Polycarpa sulcata Herdman, 1882
  • Styela aurata (Quoy & Gaimard, 1834)
  • Styela pneumonodes Sluiter, 1895
  • Styela psoloessa Sluiter, 1890

Polycarpa aurata, also known as the ox heart ascidian, the gold-mouth sea squirt or the ink-spot sea squirt, is a species of tunicate in the family Styelidae.


Polycarpa aurata grows to a height of 5 to 15 cm (2 to 6 in). It has an urn-shaped, hollow body with two siphons, one at the top and the other on the side. The body colour of this tunicate is white with purple and orange patches and purple lines. The inside is yellow or orange and this is visible round the rim of the siphons.[2][3]


This species is found in the tropical eastern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. Its range includes the Philippines, Indonesia and northern Australia. Its depth range is 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft).[2]


Tunicates feed by drawing water in through the branchial siphon at the top, filtering out phytoplankton, bacteria and other food particles, before expelling the water through the atrial siphon at the side. Sometimes hydroids and algae grow on the outside of the tunicate[2] and nudibranchs such as Nembrotha lineolata sometimes feed on it.[4]


  1. ^ a b Karen Sanamyan (2012). Noa Shenkar, Arjan Gittenberger, Gretchen Lambert, Marc Rius, Rosana Moreira Da Rocha, Billie J Swalla & Xavier Turon, eds. "Polycarpa aurata". Ascidiacea World Database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Polycarpa aurata" (in French). Sous les Mers. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ Polycarpa aurata Komodo National Park, Indonesia.
  4. ^ Rudman, W. B. "Nembrotha lineolata Bergh, 1905". Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 

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