• Question: do you squirt out ink

    Asked by evie8 to Leathery Sea Squirt on 25 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Leathery Sea Squirt

      Leathery Sea Squirt answered on 25 Nov 2017:

      Hi Evie, great question! I’m loving all the interest in sea squirts 🙂

      I don’t squirt ink, I squirt out sea water. I do this for defence when I’m prodded by something in a way I don’t like. Check out this video to see a rude human upsetting some poor innocent sea squirts and making them do this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mecEpYS2Bgw

      SO that was the nice answer, to your question, but if you want one that’s a bit more accurate and also kinda gross, read on!
      Sea squirts are basically just a big stomach. We draw seawater inside us, and then anything edible inside that sea water sticks to the mucus layer that lines the inside of our stomachs and gets trapped and digested. We then push the rest of the water out through a siphon. When someone really, really annoys us, instead of just squirting that water at them, we can squirt out the entire inside of our stomach! That will serve them right!
      Doing this is actually a pretty great defence mechanism – we can grow those guts back in about 12 days and after that we’re just fine again. Scientists have tried feeding those guts to all sorts of species of fish, and even if they were really hungry they wouldn’t touch that stuff with a barge pole! So, if a fish is thinking about eating a sea squirt, a face full of guts can really make them think again! Hah!