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Cyclosalpa affinis

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Cyclosalpa affinis
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Scientific Classification

Cyclosalpa affinis is a very interesting type of animal that lives in the surface of the ocean and has a lifestyle that is greatly distinct and unique to the underwater ecosystem. From the looks of it physically, this animal closely resembles a jellyfish. It looks like a chain of barrels, and it swims very smoothly by contracting and shrinking its body. This causes it to pump water and therefore is a type of tunicate. Tunicate refers to the bottom of the sea saclike filter feeders. Cyclosalpa affinis has a diet that consists of phytoplankton and water. This uniquely created animal has a lifespan that ends when it eats too much of the phytoplankton. [1] [2] [3]

Body Design

Body of Salp

Cyclsalpa affinis are distinguished from special chains of linked body design. The body design is mainly the chains of connected twists in mass. These chains are created asexually, and are composed of approximately ten to twelve zooids. Zooids refer to a single animal in a larger group of animals. Another important thing to note is that the chains are incomplete, or U-shaped in a group of muscles. Also, they possess a somewhat thick body, lengthening up to 8 cm (20.32 in), with 7 muscle bands. These muscles later pump water and collect planktonic food. Therefore, this particular type of species is very strongly built, and swims smoothly, with ease on the surface of the ocean. Their body material is similar to of jellyfishes, a very jelly-like texture. Their color is clear, also similar to that of a jellyfishes. [4]

Life Cycle

The lifestyle of the cyclosalpa affinis is very multipart, comprising of many different stages. First of all, oozoid is their first stage of life. This refers to the solitary life phase, or their “lonely” stage. More specifically, this is when the single animal reproduces asexually by making chains of hundreds of offspring. Thus, these are unrestricted from the parents at a tiny portion. Furthermore, the chains of cyclosalpa affinis are the collective parts of the unique lifestyle. These collective parts are also known as blastozooids. These continue to be comprised together while moving through the ocean and feeding on planktonic food. Also, they grow bigger in size, and each blastozooids in the chain reproduces sexually. When this takes place, blastozooids first grow as females, and later are fertilized by males. A growing embryo oozoid is then attached to the main part of the wall of the parent. Next, the developing oozoids are finally released from the parent blastozooids. From here on, they live, feeding on planktonic food and swimming in the ocean independently. They eventually die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, from consuming too much of the planktonic food. And this marks the closing of the life cycle of cyclosalpa affinis.
Another aspect of the lifespan of cyclosalpa affinis to consider is the different path of some generations. If there’s too much phytoplankton in the sea, it results in the short lifespan of cyclosalpa affinis. This is, again, because the species will ultimately need to filter out the phytoplankton. [3]


Cyclosalpa affinis plays an important role in the oceanic ecosystem. One reason as to how they benefit the ecosystem is by providing the area with richness in nourishment. They bring carbon to the bottom of the ocean and this feeds, what’s called, the biological pump. The biological pump refers to the system of which transports carbon into water and air. Therefore, cyclosalpa affinis’s availability affects greatly on the overall cycle of carbon and biological pumps. Moreover, the changes in cyclosalpa affinis number also affects in heavy amounts, the climate change as well. An important part to highlight is that cyclosalpa affinis has the ability to filter even the tiniest particles of phytoplankton. The result of this is that it truly plays an important role in carbon cycling. The more large and dense the carbon contained it is, the faster it sinks to the bottom of the sea. Thus, this step finally removes the carbon from the surface of the ocean. More seen importantly, it brings to deepness where it can’t be seen again for many years to even centuries. Last but not least, it is proof that the more carbon that sinks to the bottom of the ocean, the more gaps there are for the higher part of the ocean to collect carbon. This restricts the quantity that builds up into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. [3] [2]



They might be found in massive groups, and are sometimes even more plentiful than krill. Because of the large quantity of cyclosalpa affinis in the sea, the population of krill has declined, and the cyclosalpa affinis populations are currently being seen as rising. In addition, these species are widespread in other areas of the world as well. They can be found in the mild-temperate oceanic waters of California and in the Gulf of Alaska as well. [2]


  1. New insights into salp ecology in the Lazarev Sea, Southern Ocean. IPY-OSC. Web. accessed on 21 November 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Salps. California Academe of Sciences. Web. modified on 10 August 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cyclosalpa affinis. Wikipedia. Web. last modified on 16 November 2011.
  4. Body Design of Cyclosalpa affinis. Jellies Zone. Web. accessed on 21 November 2011.