Flora or Fauna?

I have been trying to identify something I have seen in the tidal shallows of Assateague. They consist of a gelatinous, diaphanous tube that is attached to the bottom and sways with the tide. An inch or so in diameter, as much as a couple of feet long. What the heck are they? I have not been able to locate them in my seashore guidebooks. Animal or vegetable? Native or Alien? Terrestrial or Extraterestrial?


mermaids necklace
I believe you’re refering to Whelk Egg Cases


We made a brief stop at Assateague Island last Easter. They had some of these in the hands on pool at the visitor’s center. I’d love to go back to camp & kayak sometime.

very nice
and excellent use of the word diaphanous, still one of my favorites. I like the name mermaid’s necklace the picture does it justice.

Thanks, but not
Whelk egg cases. These would not have survived the “hands on” tank at the visitor’s center! Color was rusty brown and semi-transparent.

I need to consult the species program Mr. Spock used in “The Journey Home”.


Maybe “sea squirts”…

– Last Updated: Feb-03-05 1:49 PM EST –

... Ciona intestinalis - Diameter and appearance about as you describe (color anywhere from pale yellowish to greenish to blueish, even reddish) - but yours seem longer that what I see for these:




Closest I know of without more info. They are animals - and popular with scientists as they have very simple genome, yet the tadpose-like larvae have a rudimentary backbone. Makes them a distant cousin, but a lot closer than invertebrates.

Another less likely option: Enteromorph? A tubular algae.? They look pretty clearly like plants though, being so green:


Any more you can add to the description? Lots of things in the waters...

This is frustrating!
No Greyak, none of the above. If you can imagine a small version of a woman’s stocking, attached to the bottom, similat in color. I’m wondering if I was seeing an inverted feeding tube/stomach of some buried animal…