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Müller, 1776

Description

External appearance
Solitary. Body elongated, usually 50-180 mm in length and attached mostly by the left side. Test thick, cartilaginous, coloured grey to pink; with low rounded swellings; free from adhering sand, shells, etc.

Characters
Both siphons inconspicuous. Oral siphon with 6-8 lobes and placed terminal; atrial siphon 6-lobed and located about 1/2 to 2/3 of body length away from oral siphon. About 40 to 100 simple branchial tentacles. Branchial sac extents well below the visceral organs; with numerous rows of straight stigmata; no folds; with papillae at the intersections of longitudinal bars with transverse vessels. Gut left of branchial sac; stomach nearly smooth. No papillae on the right face of dorsal lamina. Ovary compact, located in the intestinal loop; testis diffuse, covering the surface of the intestine (A. mentula morphology).

Habitat
Attached to hard substrata; from lower shore to about 200 metres.

Distribution
From western Norway southwards to the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Ascidia mentula