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Salps

Salps

Z585/0014

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Credit

ALEXIS ROSENFELD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALEXIS ROSENFELD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Salps. Chain of salps (Thalia democrata), a kind of tunicate. Salps are filter feeders, removing microscopic plankton from the upper levels of the world's tropical and temperate oceans. They can form chains of up to 25 metres, although these are easily broken. Thalia sp. can grow at a prodigious rate, increasing by 20% in an hour. Coupled with a reproductive rate of a few days, Thalia sp. can overwhelm areas in a relatively short time. They are chordates, creatures that contain a nerve cord, a primitive spinal cord, in part of their life cycle. Photographed off the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea.

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