Behavior

Appendicularians move their tails rhythmically inside the house to produce a current that filters tiny food particles and to move the house through the water. If the filters become clogged or something bumps the house, the appendicularian abandons the house through a mucous trap door in the posterior of the house. The beginnings of a new house lie on the trunk of the body, and the animal inflates the new house and flips inside.

Some appendicularians have bioluminescent granules embedded in the house wall. It is thought that predators of the animal may eat an empty house that is flashing light while the

Giant appendicularian with feeding filters and mucous sheet (top). Mucous house of Oikopleura (bottom). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)

Giant appendicularian with feeding filters and mucous sheet (top). Mucous house of Oikopleura (bottom). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)

original house builder swims away to make another house. Surface waters of some coastal bays and harbors can look brilliantly bioluminescent from large aggregations of appendicularians.

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