Ascidiacea (sea squirts; subphylum Urochordata)
A class of sea squirts, most of which inhabit shallow waters where they attach themselves to such structures as rocks, pilings, the bottoms of ships, and coral reefs. Deep-water species inhabit soft substrates and are known to occur at depths exceeding 2000 m. Most ascidians are inconspicuous and are often covered by smaller sessile animals. Halocynthia pyriformes
, of the Atlantic coast of N. America, is known as the ‘sea peach’ because it resembles the fruit in size, shape, and colour. The class contains four orders: Aplousobranchiata; Aspiraculata; Phlebobranchiata; and Stolidobranchiata.
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