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The giant larvacean Bathochordaeus

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Bathochordaeus is considered a giant among larvaceans. The giant larvacean’s claim to fame is the huge mucous house it builds. The house is made up of two filters and basically functions as an elaborate feeding apparatus. They eat tiny particles of dead or drifting plants and animals that float through the water column. The outer filter traps larger particles too big for the animal to eat, while the inner filter guides smaller food particles into the larvacean’s mouth. Eventually the filters get clogged and the larvacean abandons them. The sinking houses, packed with food particles, provide an important source of food for animals living on the seafloor. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) are using remotely operated vehicles, video cameras, and lasers to study giant larvaceans right in their own habitat. We just described a new species of giant larvacean, Bathochordaeus mcnutti, making a total of three species of giant larvacean now found in Monterey Bay, California.

Video producer/editor/script/narration: Teresa Carey (MBARI Communications Intern)
Music: The Jazz Piano, Jazz Comedy (Royalty Free Music from Bensound;
Production support: Kyra Schlining, Lonny Lundsten, Susan von Thun, Rob Sherlock, Kim Fulton-Bennett, & Kakani Katija

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