LUMINESCENT SEA SALPS

The salps were filmed several years ago and we have been wondering, has anyone seen salps yet this year? I’ve been checking but have yet to see. Please email (kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com) and let us know if you do, and where they were spotted. Thank you!

From several years ago: The salps were filmed in Gloucester’s inner harbor and had a luminous appearance in the blue lights of the fishing boat Hot Tuna, the largest boat in the Wicked Tuna fleet. I think the song “La Luna” by Lucy Schwartz adds to the magical movement of the salps and other creatures in the glowing blue (so sorry to Captain Ott for startling him while hanging over the edge of the dock to film the salps at the rear of his boat.)

Sea salps are warm ocean water creatures, exploding in population during algae blooms. With beating heart, notochcord, and gills they are more closely evolutionarily linked to humans than to jellyfish. Sea salps are individual creatures that through asexual reproduction, can form linear chains up to fifteen feet long!

Salps are planktonic (free floating) members of the subphylum Tunicata. Tunicates get their name from the unique outer covering or “tunic,” which acts as an exoskeleton. The sea salp’s tunic is translucent and gelatinous; in some species it is tough and thick.

SEA SALPS ARE BACK AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

Sea salps, those gentle gelatinous barrel-shaped and penny-sized free-floating tunicates, have returned to our shores. Salps are completely harmless although honestly, they can be a bit annoying to swim through. A few always manage to get stuck in the bra area of my swimsuit, which is a little yucky, but nothing more than a nuisance.

Salp reproduction is fascinating, amazing actually. The salps that we saw at Good Harbor Beach this week were in the oozoid phase. They were singular individuals. The solitary salp reproduces asexually by producing a chain of up to hundreds in the aggregate, or blastozooid, stage. In this short film you can see both the oozoid and blastozooid phases.

Read more about salp life history on wiki here.

Read about how salps may be a weapon against global climate change in this NatGeo article here.