Pleated sea squirt

Styela plicata

Family Styelidae - tunicates

Body is ovoid with many creases or pleats, tough, leathery, warty or lumpy; color is tannish white to gray; 2 siphons extend from body, 4 lobes on tip of siphons, brown (or red or purple) stripes inside siphons, look like crosshairs when siphons are closed; can squirt water through siphons when disturbed; solitary, may be singular or clustered.
Similar Species
The sea grape, Mogula manhattensis, is smooth and rounded, no creases.
Gulf and bay, attaches to hard substrates
Maximum Size
9 cm (3 1/2 in), usually 4-7 cm (1 1/2 - 2 3/4 in)
Other Common Names
rough sea squirt
Previous Scientific Names
Ascidia plicata
The pleated sea squirt is considered to be an invasive species, probably from the Indo-Pacific, that was possibly brought to North America on the hull of a foreign ship. The first description of the organism in the U.S. was reported in 1983, found in a fouling community on the hull of a ship. Its distribution in Texas was reported as early as the 1880's.