What is a sea squirt?

1. Huge filter

This area filters out waste products and excess water, while nutrients and some water remain to be digested.

2. Opening siphon

This siphon brings water into the sea squirt. Hair-like structures inside the tube form a current to draw it in.

3. Nerve cells

With no brain, a group of nerve cells allows the body to sense touch. This is crucial in triggering its squirt response.

4. Release siphon

Giving them their name, sea squirts tend to squirt water when they are under attack or need to release waste. Contracting their bodies forces water and waste out of this tube. It is possible for them to squirt out their entire digestive tract and then grow it back again.

5. Slither heart

The elongated heart contracts at one end, which spreads to the other side of the heart and then changes direction. This pumping system circulates blood around their bodies.

6. Reproductive organs

Though they have both male and female reproductive organs, they can not reproduce by themselves. The eggs stay in the body waiting to be fertilised by another sea squirt.

7. Stomach

Like in our stomachs, the sea squirt uses enzymes to break down the filtered food. 

8. Waste products

The products that haven’t been used in the body are released into a large cavity. This cavity also holds the water and waste from the first filtering process.

9. Protective tunic

The animal has a thick outer layer to protect internal organs. It has evolved to need this layer as it spends the majority of life immobile and with limited defence.

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