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Ihlea magalhanica

Apstein (1894)

Download a fact sheet for Ihlea magalhanica (PDF 370KB)


Phylum Chordata
Class Thaliacea
Order Salpida
Family Salpidae
Genus Ihlea
Species magalhanica


  • Aggregate form up to 22 mm
  • Solitary form up to 39 mm (without process)

Distinguishing characteristics

Aggregate form


  • Zooids strongly symmetrical
  • Almost oval shape
  • Small lateral process anteriorly, longer process posteriorly
  • Openings are terminal
  • Test soft
  • Preserved specimens appear flat


  • 5 asymmetrical body muscles
  • M1-M3 join dorsally, M2-M3 join medio ventrally by anastiamosis
  • M3-M4 approach and may touch on either side
  • M4-M5 approach or touch dorsally
  • M5 broken ventrally
  • Number of muscular fibres of MII: 25-40
  • Dorsal tubercle
  • Moderate length
  • Curves inwards at either end


  • Moderate circular or oval nucleus

Solitary form


  • Cylindrical
  • Soft test and terminal openings


  • 7 body muscles variously curved
  • Very broad muscles, except M7 which divides ventrally
  • M1-M4 approach or touch (do not fuse) dorsally and ventrally
  • M4-M5 touch laterally
  • M5-M6 approach or touch dorsally
  • Number of muscular fibers of MII: 77-148
  • Dorsal tubercle
  • Slightly coiled in the dorso-ventral plane
  • Comparatively large


  • Compact nucleus, blind sac directed posteriorly
  • Stolon exiting ventrally, immediately ahead of nucleus


  • Common in SE Australian waters from October to February


  • Low tolerance for warm water, indicator for cold water


  • Thompson, H. (1948). Pelagic tunicates of Australia, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Van Couwelaar, M. (2003). Zooplankton and micronekton of the North Sea. Expert Center for Taxonomic Identification, Amsterdam.