This time of year, you may be noticing what appear to be jelly-like eggs floating in the surf. They are not eggs, but one of the fastest growing multi-cellular organisms in the animal kingdom. Salps, belonging to Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, and Subphylum Tunicata, are a barrel shaped planktonic tunicate that abundantly inhabit our equatorial, temperate, and cold seas around the world. Typically ranging in sizes between 1 and 10 cm, they use contractions to create jet propulsion as their means of locomotion. The life cycle of these animals are in two parts, solitary and aggregate. In their solitary phase, known as oozoids, a single organism reproduces asexually by producing a chain of tens to hundreds of individuals.
Read more: Species Spotlight: Salp