I am not making this up: Rock vomit is the nickname scientists have given to the sea squirt Didemnum vexillum. It's become an invasive species in various parts of the US - found on the West Coast and in New England, it was most recently discovered last June in Alaska. Here's a closeup of another colony of the stuff from the USDA invasive species website:
Scientists working on an eradication plan in Alaska are concerned because along with the ugly name and ugly appearance, this creature has ugly habits. "It smothers other creatures while producing acidic toxins that in turn prevent anything from growing on it," a NOAA biologist told reporters.
This behavior can kill many other animals that we like a lot better, including fish that are of commercial importance, reportedly since it interferes with their ability to feed. I think what they mean by that is that the fish can't get at their food, but you have to wonder, is it also because once they see this thing, they're too nauseous to eat?
-Wombat (No Relation)
Apr 11, 2011
Posted by wombat at Monday, April 11, 2011