- Cunjevoi is a type of sea squirt, an animal that forms large colonies as a dense mat over rocks which are highly visible at low tide.
- Its shape is squat and globular. It has a thick leathery outer layer called a ‘tunic’ which is often covered with brown or green algae. Cylindrical in shape with 2 openings called siphons for inhaling and ex-haling water and feeding.
- Size: Max height is 300mm, average size is 150mm high by 80mm wide.
What to Observe
Search area for 30 minutes and record under the following categories:
- Abundant - found easily with little searching
- Frequent - found with minimal searching
- Rare - only 1 or 2 individuals found with intensive searching
- Not found - not present during search
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
As a result of climate change, warm tropical ocean currents are expected to strengthen and persist for longer periods in southern coastal area normally dominated by cooler waters. The consequent increases in water temperature are likely to result in unfavourable growing conditions for cool water cunjevoi species.
When To Look
Throughout the year
Where To Look
- Intertidal rocky shores and rock pools
- Shallow water platforms exposed at low tide
- Broken up pieces can often be found on beaches after storms.
- Ranges from southern Queensland, New South Wales, eastern and central Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
- QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, WA, TAS.
The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.
Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.379, Reed Books, Kew.
Quinn, G.P., Wescott, G.C. & Synnot, R.N. (1992) Life on the Rocky Shores of South-Eastern Australia: an illustrated field guide. p.85, Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.
Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984) Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. p.156, Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
Branch, G.M., Branch, M.L, Griffiths, C.L. and Beckley, L.E (2005): Two Oceans: a guide to the marine life of southern Africa ISBN 0-86486-672-0
Cunjevoi are difficult to confuse with other animals, although their algae covered tunics often mean they can be camouflaged and coloured like the surrounding rocks and algae. They are soft to the touch and can be identified from their circular like structure. At low tide you can sometimes see them squirt water from their mouthparts.
Did You Know?
This species used to be a common food source for aboriginal people and today fishermen use its orange coloured organs as fishing bait.
Tunicates or sea squirts are actually distantly related to mammals
It is a protected species in some parts of Sydney Harbour.