Mum and I made an accidental ascidian discovery when in Williamstown recently. Was had stayed overnight in Melbourne after seeing Moulin Rouge. We decided to take advantage of being in a central location and visit somewhere that we normally wouldn’t go.
We settled on Williamstown so we could check out one of her favourite stores, Back To Basics.
The storefront was so close to the waterfront. We decided to go for a little wander along there to see what we could find.
We were walking along the floating pontoon next to the larger Gem Pier area when we saw little balls of something. It was difficult to get a good view; the marine line was in a small area plus I only had my iphone on me.
Ironically, a friend messaged me when we were on the train leaving Williamstown. She had asked about previous photos I had shared which she thought may be Botrylloides diegensis. She was particularly interested in one with white and purple rings.
I wasn’t sure what I had a photo of. I did a quick edit on my phone and sent the photo through. Turns out that it was likely B. Diegensis! I thought it was hilarious, as at the time I was just trying to get photos of the colourful things.
We also found some other species. The below is Botryllus schlosseri, an ascidian that is annoying with how variable it is.
I later shared the photos online. Someone said that the white ball was a Polyclinid, possibly Aplidium glabrum. It was hard to find any information on polyclinids, other than they belonged to the family Polyclinidae.
Unfortunately, I was only about to get about 5 photos. We were joined by a swan that got a little bit too friendly. It was about 30m away when I was leaning over the pontoon, however it covered that distance very quickly. Within seconds, I had this less than a foot from my face.
It started hissing. Time to move!
I spoke softly and moved very slowly as I got up. It kept a good on us until we started walking back to shore. The friendly fella then swam off.
I’m keen to return to area and explore it more thoroughly to see if there are any other places to observe marine life. I’ll bring my underwater camera this time… if I’m allowed 😉