NEW FILM: Luminescent Sea Salps

The salps were filmed in Gloucester’s inner harbor and had a luminous appearance in the blue lights of the fishing boat Hot Tuna, the largest boat in the Wicked Tuna fleet. I think the song “La Luna” by Lucy Schwartz adds to the magical movement of the salps and other creatures in the glowing blue. (So sorry to Captain Ott for startling him while hanging over the edge of the dock to film the salps at the rear of his boat, and Hey to Nicky Avelis!)

Sea salps are warm ocean water creatures, exploding in population during algae blooms. With beating heart, notochcord, and gills they are more closely evolutionarily linked to humans than to jellyfish. Sea salps are individual creatures that through asexual reproduction, can form linear chains up to fifteen feet long!

Salps are planktonic (free floating) members of the subphylum Tunicata. Tunicates get their name from the unique outer covering or “tunic,” which acts as an exoskeleton. The sea salp’s tunic is translucent and gelatinous; in some species it is tough and thick.

3 thoughts on “NEW FILM: Luminescent Sea Salps

  1. Kim Smith Post author

    I think they are so beautiful too. No fancy camera. After dinner my husband and I stopped to look at the boats docked at Rocky Neck. One had glowing blue lights at its stern with the slaps swimming in the lights and they looked luminescent, although I don’t think they are actually bioluminescent, just appeared that way in the lights. I took a cell phone video and made it into an Instagram and everyone loved it so the next night I returned with my video camera. I was shooting very close to the surface of the water. The salps and minnows were attracted to the lights, which I think brought the striped bass because they were leaping out of the water all around us!

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